Justice Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Friday dismissed a contempt application filed by a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, against Minister of Information Lai Mohammed over inclusion of her name in the infamous ‘looters’ list.
Usman is standing trial on allegations of money laundering alongside a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Joint Trust Dimension Ltd.
Usman had initiated a suit against Mohammed arguing that the inclusion of her name on the list released during the pendency of her trial, was contemptuous.
EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had urged the court to refuse Usman’s application, arguing that the applicant was never referred to as a looter by the minister.
In his ruling, Aikawa upheld the submission of the prosecution that the right parties to the contempt suit were not before the court.
According to him, the publications, which the applicant complained of, were made by media houses and not Mohammed.
He then ruled that the right parties to be joined in the application were the media houses and not the minister.
The judge also held that a mere publication, which did not go to the substance of a case or directly affect proceedings before the court, could not be said to have interfered or influenced the mind of the court.
The judge, therefore, ruled that the publication was not prejudicial to the applicant’s case in court and dismissed it for lacking merit.
The court was adjourned until Jan. 24 for continuation of trial.