Lagos – Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday granted conditional leave to Chimaroke Nnamani, to travel overseas for a medical check-up.
Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu State, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alongside seven others, on 105-counts of money laundering.
The others are: Sunday Anyaogu, Rainbownet (Nigeria) Ltd., Hillgate (Nigeria) Ltd., Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile (Nigeria) Ltd., Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
Yunusa granted the leave while ruling on an application by Mr Ricky Tarfa, counsel to the former governor.
Nnamani had sought permission of the court travel to the United States for medical attention.
The judge, after an appraisal of the arguments and submissions of counsel for the prosecution and defence, observed that the accused had previously sought leave to travel for treatment.
He said the last of such leave was granted on Dec. 30, 2012, adding that the applications for leave had become too frequent.
The judge, however, granted leave to the accused as prayed, but based it on three conditions.
“The application by the accused for leave to travel overseas for medical treatment is hereby granted.
“However, an order is made for the accused to be present in court before the next trial date on May 28.
“The accused is also required upon return, and before the next adjourned date, to file a notice of return in court, and also, to exhibit the medical report before the court” Yunusa ruled.
He said that the hearing of the substantive case will commence on May 28.
Nnamani had filed the application on April 15, but was opposed by EFCC counsel, Mr Kelvin Uzozie, who said that it was a ploy to delay trial
An affidavit deposed to by one Ayo Ambali, stated that sometime in 2008, Nnamani was diagnosed to have high cholesterol in the blood.
He further stated that the accused was also diagnosed of a high level Serum Prostate Surface Antigem (SPA), for which he had been to the United States of America for medical treatment.
The anti-graft agency in the charge alleged that Nnamani conspired with others to steal N1.4 billion from the Excess Crude Oil Funds allocated to five local governments in the state.
The councils are Aninri, Enugu South, Agwu, Igbo Etiti and Isi Uzor.
Also, the former governor, with the assistance of one Chinero Nwigwe, who is still at large, allegedly fraudulently transferred millions of dollars of state funds to his personal accounts in the United States of America.
These offences were allegedly committed while Nnamani held sway as governor between 1999 and 2007.
The offences committed are contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, which provides not less than two years or more than three years imprisonment upon conviction.
The accused had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Yunusa, who is the third judge trying the case, had allowed the accused to continue to enjoy the previous bail granted by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the original trial judge.
Justice Charles Archibong also heard the case but did not conclude it before he was transferred to another division of the court.(NAN)
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