A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted an alleged money-laundering suspect, Mr. Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, leave to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) for medical treatment.
Giwa-Osagie, a partner in the law firm of Africa Law Practice (ALP), is the counsel of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the last general election, Mr Atiku Abubakar.
The defendant and his younger brother, Erhunse, are standing trial on a $2 million money laundering charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted leave to Uyiekpen, while ruling on his application seeking to vary the terms attached to the N20 million bail granted him by the court.
But the judge rejected Erhunse’s application to visit the United State of America (USA) for a follow-up treatment on a cough related ailment.
The EFCC, on August 14, arraigned the Giwa-Osagie siblings on a two-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
It alleged that the brothers, on February 12, 2019, conspired to launder $2 million, without going through a financial institution.
The offences, according to the prosecution, contravened Sections 18(c), 18(a), 1(a), 16(1), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and were punishable under Sections 16, 16(2)(b)16(2)(b) of the same Act.
Each defendant pleaded not guilty and was admitted to N20 million bail with two sureties in the like sum.
The court also ordered the brothers to deposit their international passports with the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) till the determination of the charges against them.
However, the Giwa-Osagie brothers filed an application to vary the bail terms.
Particularly, they applied for the release of their international passport to enable them travel to the USA and the UK, for follow-up medical treatment.
Opposing the application, the EFCC said they failed to show that their medical cases cannot be handled in any Nigerian hospital.
It added that the medical reports attached to the applications were not from government hospitals.
In particular, the EFCC stated that Erhunse’s letter of invitation from an American Hospital was undated and unsigned.
It urged the court to refuse both applications.
Ruling on the applications yesterday, vacation judge, Justice Oweibo, upheld the EFCC’s position and declined Erhunse’s prayer.
He granted Uyiekpen leave for a one-month medical visit to the UK.
Justice Oweibo, however, ordered Atiku’s lawyer to file an undertaken that he would return to the country after his treatment and that on his return to Nigeria, he would return the passport to the Court’s DCR.