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Ex-FCT minister’s trial: 3rd accused seeks overseas medical treatment

Lagos – A Federal High Court on Friday in Lagos fixed April 9 to rule on an application for overseas medical treatment of a third accused, Otti Olarenwaju.

Olajumoke Akinjide

Olarenwaju is standing trial alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, over a N650 million fraud.

Akinjide is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) along a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Allison-Madueke, is however, said to be “at large”.

Also charged is a former Senator, Ayo Adeseun, and Olarenwaju, who is a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain.

The accused are facing charges of allegedly conspiring to directly take possession of N650 million, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, without going through a financial institution.

When the case came up on Friday, Mr Akinola Olajide, Counsel to Olarenwaju, informed court of a motion on notice, seeking permission for the third accused, to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment.

Olajide told court that the nature of the accused’ ailment, was one that required overseas medical attention, urging the court to order a release of her international passport, to enable her travel for treatment.

Besides, the defence counsel pointed out that the third accused was already on a medical trip, when the EFCC invited her to its office to make a statement.

He urged the court to grant his application.

But the prosecutor, Mr Nnaemeka Omenwa, informed the court that the prosecution had filed a counter-affidavit in opposition to the motion of the third accused, adding that she was a flight risk.

When Olajide sought to tender from the bar, a medical report from a hospital in Nigeria, proving the ailment, the court ordered that the document be attached as an exhibit in an affidavit, which should be filed and served on the prosecution.

Meanwhile, the first Defence Counsel, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), informed court that it had adjourned for the defence to address it on points of law on the objection raised as to the admissibility of the oral evidence of the second prosecution witness.

He added that he was ready to proceed.

In his argument, Ayorinde told the court that the authorities cited by the prosecution, only stated that an investigating police officer could only give evidence as to his findings.

He argued that evidence of whatever transpired at the meeting referred to by the first prosecution witness could only be given by those who were present at the meeting.

He added that any attempt by the witness to narrate proceedings of the meeting would amount to hear-say.

Ayorinde then urged the court to expunge any evidence relating to what transpired at the “so-called meeting, if ever there was any.”

The other defence counsel agreed with the submissions of Ayorinde.

After listening to submissions of counsel, Justice Muslin Hassan adjourned the case until April 9 for ruling as well as hearing of pending application.

In the charge, the prosecution alleged that the accused conspired to directly take possession of N650million, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

According to the EFCC, the accused persons allegedly received the money from Alison-Madueke in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was said to be part of a larger sum of $115 million allegedly doled out by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
(NAN)


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