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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Ekweremadu to spend Christmas in prison as UK court refuses his bail again

A United Kingdom Central Criminal Court has refused to grant the bail application filed by former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The court in the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, December 20, 2022, gave its verdict denying the bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk.

The court also dismissed application for “dismissal of charges” of conspiracy against him, his wife, Beatrice and their daughter, Sonia, to facilitate organ harvesting of David Nwamini’s kidney.

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By default, the Ekweremadus and co-defendant, Dr Obinna Obeta, will now stand trial beginning on January 31.

But at the pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, Ekweremadu and Obeta attended the hearing via video links from their prisons, while Mrs. Ekweremadu was physically present. Their daughter, Sonia, was not in court, having been excused due to her medical condition and ongoing dialysis.

In the bail application, the defence team argued that Ekweremadu “is a highly regarded, well known public figure”, and also referenced the fact that he “attended COP 26 in this country and represented Nigeria” on climate change discussions, but the prosecution hammered on his being a flight risk.

His Lawyers told the court that Ekweremadu might take flight and not return to attend the trial if granted bail. However, his barrister said he couldn’t do that nor leave his sick daughter and wife behind.

The defence further argued that the Nigerian Ambassador to United Kingdom, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), gave character references for Ekweremadu and even asked the court to consider electronic tagging, in order to monitor his movement.

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His defence also told the court that they had sureties and securities of nearly half a million pounds from 11 people, but the Recorder of London – judge – wasn’t swayed by the argument.

On his part the prosecutor cited a letter written to them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on July 18, to back their grounds for opposing bail.

After hearing from both sides of the bench, the Judge held: “I’m entirely satisfied there remains a flight risk,” especially “as the trial is just over a month away.” In view of that, his ruling was “this bail application is refused.”

In refusing the bail, the Judge said Ekweremadu had three different passports on him when he was arrested. This, according to him, suggests that he could take flight to either the United Arab Emirates or St Kitts and Nevis if granted bail.

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