A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, rejected an application filed by Olugbenga Obadina, a businessman involved in the Dasukigate case, seeking to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Mr. Obadina is accused of receiving over N2 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser under retired Sambo Dasuki without a contract award.
Mr. Dasuki and several others who allegedly benefited from the scandal, popularly referred to as Dasukigate, are also being prosecuted separately.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel to Mr. Obadina, Chris Uche, made the application for the temporary release of his passport to enable him travel for medical treatment abroad.
Mr. Uche said that the medical papers testifying to the need for the defendant to seek treatment were attached to the affidavit that was deposed to by the applicant himself.
The prosecuting counsel, Larry Aso, opposed the application on the grounds that the medical papers emanated from the clinic of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, which was not related to the applicant in anyway.
Mr. Aso maintained that the prosecution still held unto its earlier stand that the defendant was a flight risk, adding that ulcer, the ailment the defendant was seeking treatment for could be handled in Nigeria.
He added that the prosecution was relying on the records of the court of January 27, where the defendant’s surety, Maryam Sagir, applied to withdraw as surety.
In his ruling, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said that in applying the discretion of the court, he was not minded to grant the application.
“I have considered carefully the application of the defendant for the release of his passport to travel abroad for medical treatment.
“Traditionally, the court has always maintained a liberal approach in releasing passport for medical treatment based on the presumption that the defendant is innocent until proved otherwise.
“Also, going by what transpired on July 15, 2016 during his arraignment where he refused to present his biodata and the happenings of January 27, were questions were raised concerning his surety ship.
“Even though the issue of the surety has been resolved, I am not minded to grant the application in favour of the applicant.”
He dismissed the application, adding that the court might take a different view in a subsequent application if compelling evidence was presented.
Mr. Dimgba adjourned the matter to March 22 for continuation of hearing.
Earlier, Victor Agunzi, counsel to Sagir who had applied to withdraw her surety-ship told the court that the parties had met and sorted out their differences.
Mr. Agunzi said as a result, Ms. Sagir would continue as Mr. Obadina’s surety.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ms. Sagir had applied to withdraw her surety-ship on the grounds that Mr. Obadina had not kept to the conditions they agreed on.