Justice Valentine Ashi of the FCT High Court sitting in Apo on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 expressed his dissatisfaction at what he believes to be a deliberate delay tactics on the part of counsel for Emmanuel Ehidiamhem Okoyomon, former Managing Director of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, whose extradition to the United Kingdom, UK, has been ordered by a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Okoyomon’s extradition is being sought by the UK government over his alleged role in the bribery allegation involving officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the NSPMC and Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.
Justice Ashi had at the last sitting on August 5, 2015 fixed August 12, 2015 for hearing on the preliminary objection raised by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, to the bail application brought by Okoyomon’s counsel, Mike Enaharo.
Enaharo had approached the Court to challenge Okoyomon’s continued incarceration at Kuje Prisons, accusing the Deputy Comptroller in-charge, Medium Security Prison, Kuje and the Attorney General of the Federation of denying Okoyomon of his right to personal liberty.
The Deputy Comptroller was absent in court, on August 5, 2015, despite being ordered by the court to appear that day. He had sent in a letter, stating that Okoyomon was being held at the prison by virtue of a remand order by the Court of Appeal. The letter and the action of the prison officer, however, angered the judge, who subsequently ordered that he present himself in court today.
At the resumed sitting today, Muslim Hassan, representing the AGF, apologized on behalf of the prison officer, who was also present in court.
“They acted based on the legal advice from their prison legal services, and they are remorseful for whatever the action may have caused,” Hassan said.
However, Justice Ashi, a vacation judge, found himself in a tight corner, as his intention to hear the preliminary objection raised by the AGF to Okoyomon’s bail application with the aim of speeding up the case, could not go on as planned, as the defence counsel further brought a counter-affidavit and a written address, which the prosecuting counsel told the court that he was not privy to before the sitting.
The judge, while adjourning the case till August 24, 2015, for definite hearing, urged the counsel to avoid engaging in delay tactics with regards to the case.
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