A vacation judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor, sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, granted an application filed by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide, for the release of her international passport to enable her travel abroad for medical treatment.
Akinjide and one Olanrewaju Otiti had been arraigned on June 22, 2017 before Justice J.O. Abdul-Malik of the Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on an amended 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N650million.
The accused allegedly conspired to receive the money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke in the build-up to the 2015 general election.
The money was part of the $115 disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election by some top officials of the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC.
Justice Abdul-Malik had ordered the accused to be remanded in the EFCC custody.
Consequently, the former minister had, on July 20, 2017, through her counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, approached the Lagos Federal High Court to allow her travel abroad for medical check.
However, Justice Obiozor turned down the application on the grounds that the matter was not listed for hearing on the day.
Justice Obiozor further said he might not be inclined to grant the application, as the accused was not being tried before him and he was not the one who admitted her to bail.
He, therefore, deferred ruling on the application to today.
At today’s sitting, Ayorinde moved an application asking the court to release the international passport of his client unconditionally for a period not exceeding 30 days within the months of August and September 2017.
Ayorinde further sought the leave of the court to allow his client to travel on any future date for further treatment upon a written request by his chambers.
In his short ruling, Justice Obiozor turned down the application on the grounds that the initial bail was granted to the defendant on self-recognition, with the condition that her international passport must be deposited with the court.
The judge further ruled that he would only grant the application if Ayorinde would stand surety that the accused would come back to face her trial within 30 days.
Ayorinde then agreed to stand surety for the ex-minister as spelt out by the judge.
The case was adjourned to September 12, 2017 for continuation of trial in Ibadan, Oyo State.