Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hide and Seek Game finally over!

. . . and Aunty Iyabo emerges!
Monday 19/05/08 marked the ‘official’ end to the ‘hide and seek’ drama between the embattled Senator, Dr. (Mrs.) Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and the EFCC. She reappeared in order to avoid the issuance of a bench warrant for her arrest by the court. Smart move.

While dismissing an earlier application by Obasanjo-Bello challenging the competence of the charges against her Justice Salisu Garuba held thus:
"it is not right for an accused person to stay at home and ask her counsel to represent her in court. I dismiss the application by the 12th accused person that she should not be molested, abused or arrested by security agents. Accordingly, I hold that the preliminary objection by the 12th accused person is incompetent and it is hereby dismissed."

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello had earlier filed an application asking the Court for an order that she should not be molested, abused and arrested by the EFCC. There was also a Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to try her! (If the Court lacks jurisdiction why then was she asking the Court to protect her from the security agents?)

In his Ruling, Justice Garba ruled that the application filed by Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello asking the Court to quash the charges against her on the grounds that the court lacked the jurisdiction to try her (Obasanjo-Bello), was incompetent. The judge said, “It is wrong for an accused person to stay at home and ask her counsel to represent her before the court. Consequently the preliminary objection was dismissed. The Court also dismissed her Preliminary Objection on the ground that it was incompetent.

The order for her to appear before the court on May 21 was however set aside when the court was informed of her presence in court.

Aunty Iyabo was put in the dock and her 2 count charge was read to her. Of course she pleaded not guilty to all charges. Having taken her plea, her Lawyer moved an oral application for her bail.

In his argument, Counsel for the 12th accused (Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello) prayed the Court to grant his client bail based on the fact that the other accused persons are already on bail, and as such the discretion of the court should also be extended to his client. He went on to add that the court should also take into cognisance, the fact that his client is a medical practitioner, a Senator and the first daughter of a former President of this country. Counsel for Obasanjo-Bello concluded his argument by urging the court to grant the 12th accused person bail on personal recognition.

The EFCC Counsel opposed the oral application for bail on the following grounds:

1. Given the ugly antecedents of this case, there are some facts that the complainant would want to bring in respect of the 12th accused person.
2. The court had earlier directed that the 11 other accused persons should come formally for bail, and they obeyed that order and today they are on bail.
The EFCC Counsel added that the fact that she is a medical practitioner, a senator and the first daughter of a former President are not relevant here. (Very correct!)

After hearing the arguments by both Counsels, the trial judge, Justice Salisu Garuba then adjourned the matter till 11am for ruling on the bail application.

… she wept
Just before the Judge came out of his chambers to deliver his ruling, Mr. Akomolafe told his Client that she was not likely to be admitted to bail. This made Senator Obasanjo-Bello cry!

The Ruling
In his ruling, the Judge refused the oral application for bail on the reasoning that to accede to the oral application after having refused those of the other 11 accused in the past would amount to "double standard." The Court then ordered that the application for bail should be in written form and on notice.

The EFCC counsel, asked the court to remand the Senator at Kuje Prison. Mr. Akomolafe opposed this and told the court not to remand her either at the prison or at EFCC custody because the operatives of the commission had already threatened to deal with her. This threat, according to Mr. Akomolafe was issued on the day the EFCC raided the Senator’s house.

After hearing Counsel for Obasanjo-Bello, Justice Garuba then ordered that the Senator should be remanded at the Maitama Police Station pending the hearing of the written application for bail which will be taken on Wednesday the 21st day of May 2008.

Aunty Iyabo would be a ‘guest’ in the Maitama Police Station for two nights. The medicine does taste bitter eh!

Counsel for the accused Senator told journalists after proceedings that the reason his client came out of hiding to present herself to the Court is because she thought of the other accused persons. Talk about ‘appropriate timing!’ Hello! Who are they deceiving? If she was really thinking about the other accused persons why did she go into hiding?

1 comment:

hasthinapurinews said...

Nice Reporting. She is a perfect example for those whose words and deeds have no linking.
Keep it up.

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