|02ABUJA1592||2002-05-23 17:11:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Abuja|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001592
1.(SBU) A High Court judge on May 20 ruled in the
Government's favor on the extradition case of Gabriel Umoh, a
Nigerian national convicted by a U.S. court of financial
fraud. According to the Ministry of Justice prosecutor, the
defense attorney argued before the court that the offense
allegedly committed by Mr. Umoh is not an offense covered in
the Extradition Treaty with the U.S. Not persuaded by this
argument, the judge ruled that Umoh should be extradited.
2.(SBU) Umoh's attorney has 15 days to appeal the ruling to
the Appellate Court. The MOJ prosecutor is certain that Umoh
will appeal, and predicts this will take two-three months if
the judge is efficient and does not entertain repeated
defense motions for postponement or shift in court venue.
3.(SBU) Comment: The otherwise sluggish Nigerian judicial
system has showed remarkable pace in moving Umoh's
extradition case in just four weeks; arguments closed on May
13. Nigeria's new Attorney General has told Ambassador Jeter
that he considers extradition of fugitives from Nigeria back
to the U.S. a priority. It appears he helped select the
court and may have lobbied the Chief Judge of the High Court
for an honest and efficient judge to preside over this case.
The challenge will be to ensure that similar efficiency and
integrity continues in the Appellate Court.