N650m Fraud: Why I ordered release of Jumoke Akinjide’s international passport—Judge

judge's wig

By Temitope Stephen

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the  Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday ordered immediate release of the  international passport of former Minister of State for Defence,  Oloye Jumoke Akinjide.

The trial judge and professor of law said the order was not only a response to a formal request by Akinjide  to enable her travel  to Germany for medical treatment but also because a senior member of the inner bar and counsel to Akinjide guaranteed her coming back to Nigeria after medical treatment.

Akinjide is currently  standing trial before a Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State, alongside  former  Senator, Ayo Adeseun, and one  Chief  Olanrewaju Otiti over alleged involvement in a N650 million fraud.

Though, Akinjide was granted bail on self-recognisance, but the presiding judge, Justice Joyce Abdulmaleek, had ordered her to deposit her international passport pending conclusion of her trial.

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In seeking the release of Akinjide’s  passport on Wesnesday, her Lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), told the court that the application which was dated July 12, 2017, was based on the recommendation of the National Hospital, Abuja, which stated that her client needed  foreign medical treatment.

He also sought an order of the court for the release of the passport to Akinjide, anytime she may need it for other foreign medical trips.

In urging the court to order the release of  the passport by the EFCC, Ayorinde (SAN) told the court that the prosecution had promised not to oppose the application.

He also told the court that his client is not a flight risk being a politician and that she would come back to the country to face her trial.

EFCC lawyer, Mohammed I. Aliyu, confirmed being served with the application, and informed the court that his Commission was not opposing the request.

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But the presiding judge, Professor Obiozor, said the only condition that  would make him to grant the application was if Chief Ayorinde (SAN) would  guarantee that the former Minister would return back to Nigeria after her treatment, which Ayorinde  agreed to.

Upon agreeing to the court’s  condition, Justice Obiozor ordered the EFCC to  release the former Minister’s passport, to enable her  travel to Germany for medical treatment.

The judge, however,  ordered that the former Minister must not stay beyond 30 days while he also refused to order the release of her passport subsequently if the need arose for her to travel.

The former Minister, Akinjide, Senator Adeseun and Olanrewaju Otiti, are standing trial before an Ibadan Federal High Court, over alleged  N650 million fraud.

The trio were arraigned alongside  former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, on a 12- count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion and stealing of N650 million in the build up to the 2015 general elections.

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During their arraignment, it was only Akinjide and Otiti that were present in court, and they both pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Following their plea of not guilty, the court granted  bail to Akinjide on self-recognisance, but ordered her to deposit her international passport