Court adjourns hearing on release of Ex-Mint boss, Okoyomon

Ehidiamhem Okoyomon

An Abuja court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of an application by Emmanuel Okoyomon, the Managing Director, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company.

Mr. Okoyomon is seeking to be released from prison.

The judge, Valentine Ashi, adjourned hearing to August 12 following a preliminary objection to bail by the Attorney General of the Federation.

Mr. Okoyomon was remanded in Kuje prison in Abuja after a Federal High court ordered his extradition to the United Kingdom and refused him bail.

He had applied to be released after spending over two months in Kuje prison on the basis of ill health.

The UK wants Mr. Okoyomon extradited over his alleged role in the bribery allegation involving officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company and Security International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.

Justice Chukwu had on May 4 ordered the extradition of Mr. Okoyomon to the United Kingdom to face charges of corruption and money laundering.

Dissatisfied by the May 4 ruling, Mr. Okoyomon, through his counsel, Alex Iziyon, SAN, approached the appellate court seeking a stay of execution of the ruling of the lower court.

The embattled MD ran into trouble following the October 1 2009 launch of the polymer bank notes in Nigeria which saw the N5, N10, and N50 notes remade in polymer material as against the original paper version.

There were allegations that officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Mint officials received bribes to effect the switch to polymer.

The Counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, M. S. Hassan, objected to the ex-mint boss release with a counter affidavit by his counterpart from the ministry of justice, Abdullahi Mohammed, saying Mr. Okoyomon was lawfully detained on the order of the appeal court.

He said, “This honourable court’s discretionary powers are subordinate to the order of the Court of Appeal”.

Mr. Hassan said contrary to the ex-mint boss’ claim, there was nothing to suggest that the medical condition of the applicant cannot be taken care of while in prison custody.

He said other prison sick inmates are taken to hospital for treatment when sick.

He also said that the applicant will interfere with appeal court proceedings if granted bail.

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“No amount of reasonable or substantial sureties can guarantee the appearance of the applicant in court,” Mr. Hassan said in his objection.

The counsel to the accused, Mike Enahoro, asked for an adjournment to enable his team respond to issues raised in the preliminary objection and counter affidavit on point of law.

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