An Abuja High Court on Wednesday granted an application for the release of the International Passport of the former secretary to the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee on Fuel Subsidy, Boniface Emenalo, to allow him attend a conference abroad.
Emenalo and the former chairman of the committee, Farouk Lawan, are facing trial for allegedly collecting $620,000 bribe from Femi Otedola, a wealthy businessman.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko, who had earlier rejected the application for stay of proceedings brought before her by counsel to the accused persons, Mike Ozekhome, ordered that Emenalo should return his travel document to the court registrar on or before November 17, 2014 after returning from the conference.
The decision of the court to release Emenalo’s travel document followed a no-objection submission to the application by the prosecution counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo.
Ozekhome had on Tuesday told the court that the matter cannot proceed as there is a pending appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Appeal Court on the jurisdiction of the Abuja court to hear the matter.
Awomolo, while opposing the argument of the defense in favour of the stay of proceedings, reminded the court of its affirmative order to continue with the matter irrespective of the appeal.
The two accused persons were arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, on a seven-count charge bordering on receipt of bribe and abuse of office in relation to the allegation that they received $620, 000 as bribe from Femi Otedola, to omit the names of his company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas and Synopsis Enterprises Limited from the list of companies found to have allegedly defrauded the Federal Government of billions of naira.