Mr. Nnamani, a serving senator, is facing a 105 count of money laundering
A Federal High Court, Lagos, Wednesday granted Chimaroke Nnamani, former governor of Enugu State, leave to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Judge Mohammed Yinusa said that the former governor, who is now a Senator, can travel to any country of his choice since the court had already given him bail.
“The applicant was granted bail by Justice Peter Olayiwola on August 2, 2007, and one of the conditions of the bail granted was that the he shall give a written undertaking that he will not travel outside the country without the permission of the court,” said Mr. Yinusa.
“My understanding of the above bail condition is that anytime the accused/applicant intends to travel outside Nigeria, he must seek the leave of court,” he added.
Mr. Nnamani is facing a 105-count of money laundering alongside Sunday Anyaogu; Rainbownet (Nig) Ltd; Hillgate (Nig) Ltd; Cosmos FM; Capital City Automobile (Nig) Ltd; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had opposed Mr. Nnamani’s application to travel to the United States for medical treatment, arguing that he needed adequate justification for the trip.
Court papers stated that Mr. Nnamani was diagnosed, in 2008, of Hypercholesterolemia – a condition characterized by very high levels of cholesterol in the blood.
The court had already granted the former governor permission to travel abroad, on health grounds, on four occasions.
The EFCC said that the request to travel abroad again was a ploy to delay his trial.
The judge disagreed with the anti graft agency.
“It is very clear to me that what he (Mr. Nnamani) is required to do is to seek for leave of this court before traveling of Nigeria either on health grounds or any other grounds,” said Mr. Yinusa.
“The emphasis is on seeking leave of court and not on providing justification for the journey.
“It is therefore my considered opinion that he has fulfilled the requirement and the conditions provided under the bail bond by seeking for leave of court before embarking on the medical treatment in the United States of America,” he added.
The accused were first arraigned in 2007 before Justice Abubakar Tijani.
The case was later re-assigned to Charles Archibong, who has been forced into retirement following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
Mr. Yinusa is the third judge to preside over the matter.
On Wednesday, Mr. Yinusa said that refusing to allow the former governor to travel abroad would be a violation of the bail conditions granted him in 2007.
He ordered Mr. Nnamani to ensure he appears in court on May 28, the next adjourned date.
“To insist on or to compel the applicant to provide reasons or justification will amount to altering the order of the court granting bail to the accused/applicant,” Mr. Yinusa said.
The EFCC said that Mr. Nnamani and his co-accused laundered about N5 billion believed to be proceeds of crime, lodging the funds in a secret account.
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