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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The court will decide on Emefiele's request for permission to travel abroad

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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja has fixed July 17 to decide on the application of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for the release of his passport to enable him travel abroad for medical treatment.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is prosecuting Emefiele on corruption charges before the court, opposed the request during a hearing on Monday.

EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, issued a press statement on the hearing.

The commission charges Mr. Emefiele on 20 amended counts of granting corrupt advantages, conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery and obtaining approximately $6.23 million belonging to the Nigerian government by false pretenses.

Mr Emefiele, a CBN governor for almost a decade, is facing corruption charges in separate trials in Abuja and Lagos. The cases were initiated against him after President Bola Tinubu removed him from office in June 2023.

He has denied all charges brought against him in the separate trials.

The FCT High Court judge overseeing Mr Emefiele's trial in Abuja, Hamza Mu'azu, ordered the seizure of his passport as part of his bail conditions after his arraignment in November last year.

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Request for travel abroad

At the last hearing in June, Mr Enefiele's lawyer, Mathew Burkaa, senior counsel for Nigeria, informed the judge of the defendant's request for medical travel.

The judge postponed the hearing of the request until Monday (today),

On Monday, the former CBN governor, through another of his lawyers, Labi Lawal, urged the court to release his passport, previously confiscated as part of his bail conditions, to enable him travel to the UK for medical treatment.

However, the prosecutor, Muhammad Omeiza, argued that no medical report was presented to the court to show that Mr Emefiele was suffering from a disease that could not be treated in Nigeria.

He said the defence had not presented any medical reports showing that Mr Emefiele was suffering from any ailment.

He said there was also no evidence to show that his disease could not be treated locally in Nigeria.

He also claimed that Mr Emefiele posed a flight risk due to his connections to co-conspirators abroad and ongoing trials in three different courts.

However, the defense attorney called the prosecution's arguments speculative.

He said an international red alert could guarantee Emefiele's return if he fails to comply after the medical trip.

After hearing both sides, Mr. Mu'azu set July 16 to decide on the application.

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