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Alamieyeseigha denied bail, sent back to jail • Court rejects surety, seizes £10million property

Posted by Senan John Murray, London on 2005/10/08 | Views: 1321 |

Alamieyeseigha denied bail, sent back to jail • Court rejects surety, seizes £10million property


A Crown Court sitting in Southwark, London on Friday rejected a bail application by the Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who is being held at the Brixton Crown Prison for alleged money laundering.

A Crown Court sitting in Southwark, London on Friday rejected a bail application by the Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who is being held at the Brixton Crown Prison for alleged money laundering.


The court also granted a freeze order on Alamieyeseigha’s UK property valued at about £10 million as "a precautionary measure" pending conclusion of the trial.


His Honour Judge Rivlin QC who presided over Friday’s bail application cited police rejection of one of the three sureties presented by the embattled governor’s counsel, Prof. Fidelis Oditah QC as reason for sending Alamieyeseigha back to prison for another week.


He said the Govenor would remain in prison until when an agreeable surety was presented to the court.


When the court adjourned at about 5:00 pm, the governor’s lead counsel announced to reporters that his client had been granted bail, promising to issue a detailed press statement an hour later.


He was, however, forced to explain the nature of his "success" in court at Friday’s sitting when Detective Constable Peter Clark from the Financial Investigation Unit of the London Metropolitan Police told newsmen a contrary version of the court’s decision.


"He is still in custody," Clark announced emerging from the court chamber where a closed-door hearing was held.


He added "The bail application was rejected and investigations revealed property valued at £10 million which have been traced to him and which have been seized by a UK freeze order."


Realising that the police officer’s revelations had undermined the version he earlier sold to the press, Oditah told reporters that "indeed the bail application had been granted on terms of three sureties and £500,000.00 to be presented to the court next Tuesday" to secure his client’s release.


Asked why his client was still being held in prison despite the "success" of his bail application, Oditah said it was "because the police were not happy with one of the sureties.


"But our application today has been successful because initially they asked for £1million, but we managed to get it down to £500,000.00. All we have to do now is to present another surety next Tuesday and I can tell you that we already have two sureties to present to them next Tuesday."


He accused the UK police and Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of misinforming the public about details of the case.


"The police and the EFCC are always releasing information that is not accurate," Oditah alleged.


He did not state what the inaccurate information was.


It could not be ascertained whether London-based Nigerian businessman, Mr Terry Waya was among the sureties presented by Oditah to secure Alamieyeseigha’s bail.


But the Gboko-born socialite was invited into the chamber of Court 4, Southwark Crown Court when the judge demanded to see the sureties.


Oditah refused to reveal neither the name of the surety rejected by the police nor the two that were found agreeable.


In a related development, the Stratford Magistrate Court, London on Friday also ruled that Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye had no immunity against prosecution in the United Kingdom.


The ruling indicated that the governor who slipped through the fingers of the Metropolitan Police after his arrest last year for alleged money laundering would be arrested and put on trial should he dare visit the UK.


The court ruled that while Dariye might be covered by the immunity clause in the 1999 Constitution, he did not enjoy such privilege under UK legal system.


Detective Constable Clark and Detective Sergeant Bob Ingram, both of the Financial Investigation Unit of the Metropolitan who have been investigating the Dariye case and that of his Bayelsa state counterpart are due to travel to Nigeria next week Monday "to hold talks with the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu and his Director of Operations, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.


Clark denied that the meeting with Ribadu was connected with Alamieyeseigha’s ongoing trial, but our correspondent learnt that indeed the planned visit was part of the ongoing investigation into the money laundering charges against the two governors.


Clark who said he was happy with "the good working relationship" between UK authorities and Nigeria’s EFCC added that they "will target UK banking system to fight money laundering in order to make Nigeria a better place to live in."


He said arrests like those of Alamieyeseigha and Dariye would show that the UK was no longer a haven for people to steal money and run to.


Alamieyeseigha is due back at the Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday at 2:00 pm when a third surety will be presented to the Judge Rivlin with the hope that the police find him "agreeable".


SATURDAY PUNCH, Friday, October 08, 2005

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