The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday opposed an application filed at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, by a former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, seeking to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Akingbola is standing trial alongside General Manager of Tropics Finance Ltd., Bayo Dada, for allegedly stealing N47.1bn belonging to Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank Plc).
The former bank chief had filed the application dated March 19, 2013 before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, seeking the court to order EFCC to release his passport for him to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
In the same vein, the EFCC opposed separate applications by both Akingbola and Dada seeking the court to review a bail condition compelling them to report to EFCC’s office first working day of every week.
EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Edward Okpe, in opposing Akingbola’s application seeking to travel abroad, faulted the medical report tendered before the court by the accused, by querying the qualification of the author.
He also argued that the treatment Akingbola was seeking to travel to the United Kingdom for was available in more than 10 hospitals in Nigeria.
“Also the Exhibit 1, the doctor’s report, cannot be relied on because the purported author of the report failed to state his qualification,” Okpe said.
But Akingbola’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described EFCC’s grounds for opposing the application as “distractions”.
Olanipekun insisted the medical report was valid, as the qualification of the author was written on its surface. He also insisted that Akingbola reserves the constitutional right to seek treatment from wherever and from whom ever he (Akingbola) desired.
“It is the right of any person born of a woman to choose the person who is going to treat him for any ailment,” Olanipekun said.
The lawyer urged the trial judge to grant the application by relying on earlier rulings of the court granting similar applications, one of which he said was filed by the Chairman, Bicourtney Limited Wale Babalakin.
On the application for variation of bail term, Olanipekun and Dada’s counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), said thier clients were being denied the capability to work and earn by being compelled to report at EFCC’s office every week.
They faulted EFCC’s argument that a High Court judge has no power to review the bail terms, citing precedent judicial authorities which allowed the judges to do so.
Justice Onigbanjo adjourned ruling on all the applications till Thursday.