A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday granted a motion for the release of the international passport of a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, facing N4.6 billion alleged money laundering charges.
Usman is standing trial alongside a former Minister of Aviation,Femi Fani-Kayode, as well as Yusuf Danjuma, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and a company, Jointrust Dimension Limited.
The defendants were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 17-counts.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail.
EFCC had opened the case for the prosecution and was still leading witnesses in evidence.
When the case was called yesterday, Mr U. U. Buhari announced appearance for the prosecution; Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) appeared for the first defendant, while Mr Morrison Quakers (SAN) appeared for the second defendant.
Buhari informed the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with trial, adding that the prosecution witness was in court.
Orbih informed the court of a motion filed by the defence, seeking variation of the bail terms earlier granted the first defendant for the release of her international passport for an overseas trip.
The lawyer told the court that he had spoken with the lead prosecutor for the motion to be taken.
Just then, the lead counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, entered the court, announced his appearance and told the court that the case was set for trial but that there appeared to be a mix-up in the communication between counsel.
He said in the interest of justice, he would concede to the motion being taken.
The application succeeded.
Oyedepo averred that since the first defendant had been granted such indulgences in the past and had honoured same without any issue, he would not oppose the motion.
He added: “I pray that God heals her so that she will not have to travel again.”
Justice Mohammed Aikawa granted the motion, as prayed, and held that the passport be returned to court on or before January 15, 2020.
He adjourned the matter till January 23, and January 24, 2020, for continuation of trial.