N650m Fraud: Akinjide’s Co-defendant’s Can Travel For Medical Treatment- Court

N650m Fraud: Akinjide’s Co-defendant’s Can Travel For Medical Treatment– Court

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court, Lagos, Thursday, refused an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti, a chieftain of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from embarking on foreign medical treatment.

Otiti is currently standing trial before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke led-court alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and another PDP’s chieftain, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun over alleged N650 million fraud.
The trio are arraigned by the EFCC on money laundering charges.
The offences they have all pleaded not guilty to and admitted to bail in various terms on January 16, 2018, by Justice Sule Hassan, who first presided over the matter and the bail was renewed on June 6, 2018, Justice Aneke, who is currently presiding over the charge now.
Parts of the bail terms include the deposit of their international passports with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR).
However, while the trial was on, Otiti applied for bail variation, specifically, for release of her travel passport to enable her attend medical treatment in United State of America (USA) for 20 days.
Otiti’s application which was brought pursuant to court’s laws and rules, asked for the variation of her bail conditions to allow her access her international passport for a foreign medical trip.

Otiti’s application was argued by her lawyer, Akinola Oladeji, who pleaded with the court to grant his client permission to travel abroad because of her failing health.

In urging the court to grant the application, Oladeji said: “we attached her medical report dated July 11 2018, from the University College Hospital (UCH) as well as her medical history from 2009 up till 2019 to prove the urgency of her the matter”.

However, opposing Otiti’s application, the EFCC in a counter affidavit deposed to by Michael Idoko, alleged that Otiti is a flight risk and that it will be difficult to extradite her back to Nigeria if she decide to jump bail.
He added that the medical report has lapsed for over two years. And that there was no evidence that Otiti’s health issue cannot be treated locally.

In a counter affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, John Micheal Idoko, the anti-graft agency while arguing that the court’s jurisdiction does not extend beyond the shores of Nigeria also maintained that there was no referral note from any hospital for Otiti to travel for any medical treatment.

It was further averred that the applicant (Otiti) has not placed any evidence before the court to show that she cannot be treatment of her ailment in Nigeria.

“There is no fact within the content of this application and the supporting documents filed by the applicant did not state reasonable ground for this Honourable Court to grant her application but only to cast doubt in the mind of the court due to its variation.

“Should the Honourable Court be inclined to granting the application, conditions that will ensure the applicant return to face her trial must be attached”, the deponent averred.

Ruling on the applicatio, Justice Oweibo held that: “I don’t see any serious opposition from the complainant (EFCC) to convince the court not to grant this application.

“There is referral from a hospital, considering the age of the applicant, who  is 65 years and her health condition. Am inclined to grant this application.
“Consequently, I hereby ordered that the applicant’s travel passport in custody of the Court’s DCR be release to her for the purpose of attending medical appointment in United State of America.
“Counsel to the applicant should file an undertaking that the defendant will come back to continue her trial and that the passport will be returned to the court’s DCR custody.
“However, prayer three which asked the court to allow the applicant to travel out for further medical appointment is hereby refused”.
Otiti and other defendants are currently standing trial on an amended 24-count charge of alleged N650 million fraud.
The money was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 general election.

 

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