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Court orders EFCC to return ex-Afribank MD’s int’l passport

By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, yesterday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to release the international passport of former Managing Director of Afribank Plc, Sebastine Adigwe, alongside six others, who are facing charges of financial impropriety preferred against them by the EFCC.

Others standing trial alongside Adigwe are: Chairman of Afribank, Osa Osunde; three board members, Isa Zailani, Chinedu  Onyia, Henry Arogundade;  a stockbroker, Peter Ololo and his firm, Falcons Securities Limited.

Trial judge in the matter, Justice J. Tsoho, also ordered the variation of the bail it granted them. In his ruling over the request by the accused persons for the variation of their bail application, the judge directed that all the accused persons must give the court a week notice before they could travel out of the country.

All the accused persons were also ordered to return to the country four days before the next adjourned date.
The court, however,  refused the application of one of the accused person, Henry Arogundade, for  an order defreezing his account.

In their separate applications, the accused persons had prayed the court to release their international passports to enable them travel abroad for medical treatment and for business transaction.

Also counsel to the  sixth accused person  in  his application urged the court  to unfreeze his client’s bank account at AfriBank and Guaranty Trust Bank,  frozen by the prosecution  as there was  no place in the proof of evidence  that it was stated that any fraudulent  fund were transferred to his account.

But the prosecution  in opposing the application,  urged the court to dismiss the bank chiefs’ application on the grounds that there was no sufficient material placed before the court to warrant granting the application.

The commission had argued that the accused persons are creating a false impression that once an application of variation of bail is failed, the court has the duty to grant it.

Meanwhile, the matter has been adjourned till January 28, 2011 for hearing of application to quash charges.


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