Alleged N650m Fraud: Court Dismisses Otiti’s Application to Travel Abroad

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday asked a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos to dismiss an application filed by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking the release of her international passport to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Mrs Otiti is currently standing trial alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and another PDP chieftain, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun over an alleged N650 million money laundering charge.

In an application which was brought pursuant to the court’s laws and rules, Mrs Otiti is seeking the variation of her bail conditions to allow her access to her international passport for a foreign medical trip.

Arguing the application, her lawyer, Akinola Oladeji, pleaded with the court to grant his client permission to travel abroad because of her failing health.

“We have attached her medical report dated 11th July, 2018, from the University College Hospital (UCH) as well as her medical history from 2009 up till 2019 to prove the urgency of the matter”, the lawyer said.

In opposing Otiti’s application, the EFCC alleged that she is a flight risk and that it will be difficult to extradite her back to Nigeria if she decides to jump bail.

In a counter affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, John Micheal Idoko, the EFCC 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.

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The commission also stresses that Mrs Otiti had not placed any evidence before the court to show that her ailment cannot be treated 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.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo has reserved his ruling on the issue till Wednesday.

The defendants are currently standing trial on an amended 24-count charge of alleged N650 million money laundering.

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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