Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on January 18, 2019 gave stringent conditions for granting Chinese national, Li Yan Ping’s application to travel out of Nigeria for medicals.
Ping is standing trial for a $300,000 money laundering charge leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC after intelligence report led to his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja for failing to declare the said sum of money in his possession, as he attempted to board a flight en route Dubai.
He had applied through his counsel, Patrick Ikwueto, in a motion dated August 20, 2018 seeking for the release of his international passport, to enable him travel to China for three weeks for medical check-up.
Prosecuting counsel, G.K. Latona, had argued against the application noting that it did not have any supporting document, like a medical request from the hospital in China, “only a referral on the instruction of the defendant from Nisa Premier Hospital”.
“It is a cocktail of lies and half truths made to deceive this honourable court,” he said.
However, at Friday’s proceeding, Justice Quadri after considering all the arguments, granted the application of Ping to travel for a period of three weeks, stressing that “the crux of the matter is whether the applicant in this case has placed credible proof before this court in support of the request to travel abroad for medical treatment as one of the conditions granted the defendant is that his international passport be deposited in court and during the course of the trial the international passport has been used as an exhibit”.
The trial judge further held that: “Sufficient evidence shows that the defendant needs medical attention, however, these are minor health conditions despite the referral from the Chinese National Hospital.
“Having considered all the facts carefully, I must state clearly that I am not mindful of the fact that these or any other medical conditions would warrant him to travel abroad in a bid to seek a preferred medical solution to address the current health challenge the defendant is currently facing.
“I will take into consideration that the defendant is always in court at any given court date, he is always on time as well, and has not defaulted on any of the bail conditions thus far”.
In granting the application, the trial judge ruled that, “the defendant’s international passport shall be released to him to travel upon the perfection of bond resident within the jurisdiction of this honourable court”.
Justice Quadri held that: “ Two members of the defendant’s family shall stand as sureties and the sureties shall each deposit their international passport with the deputy registrar of the court pending the return of the defendant back to Nigeria within a period of three weeks.
“The sureties are also required as collateral, to present title land document of a property that is not encumbered alongside a covering letter for AGIS.
“If the defendant fails to return to Nigeria at the end of three weeks period granted, the surety shall pay the sum of N1 million for every week that the defendant defaults”.