Court halts Akingbola’s bid to travel abroad for treatment

By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Onozure Dania

LAGOS—AN Ikeja High Court, presided over by Justice Adeniyo Onigbanjo, yesterday, turned down an application asking it to allow former Managing Director of defunct Intercontinental Bank, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, travel abroad for medical attention.

Ruling on Akingbola’s application, Justice Onigbanjo held that the banker did not advance enough reasons to warrant the court granting such application.

However, the court granted Akingbola and his co-defendant, Mr. Bayo Dada, who is standing trial with him in the alleged case of theft, the opportunity to vary their bail conditions, mandating them to appear in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC’s office every first working day of the week.

Akingbola, charged alongside the General Manager, Tropix Security Limited, Bayo Dada, for allegedly stealing N47 billion belonging to his former bank by EFCC, had approached the court for leave to keep an April 15 medical appointment with his hospital in London.

The judge stated that it was wrong for the applicant to assume that he had the legal right to be treated by any medical doctor of his choice, as argued by his counsel.

According to Onigbanjo, the absence of evidence by Akingbola to convince the court that he had sought medical attention for his ailment in Nigeria without success was a major flaw in his application.

Puncturing Akingbola’s counsel’s submission that the court should follow its earlier rulings, wherein he recently granted bail to some defendants before the court, Onigban-jo held that no two cases, no matter their similarity, were the same because of the peculiarity of their circumstances.

He said: “The court, in exercising its discretion, must exercise it judicially and judiciously considering all the facts before it.”

The court must take into consideration the fact that the first defendant’s trial was concluded by the former trial judge before it started denovo (afresh) because of the elevation of the former judge.

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