A bid by a former boss of Intercontinental Bank, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, to obtain leave of court for a foreign medical appointment failed today as he could not convince Judge Adeniyi Onigbanjo that he cannot obtain treatment in Nigeria.

The court also threw out his application for the return of his passport, which would have enabled him to undertake his international travel. 

Yesterday, Mr. Akingbola’s attorney, Wole Olanipekun, objected to the argument of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), that Akingbola can be treated within Nigeria.  Olanipekun argued that his client has the right to choose who treats him, and the right to be treated abroad if he so choses.

Giving his ruling, Justice Onigbanjo held that Mr. Akingbola failed to prove that his medical condition could not be handled by specialist hospitals within Nigeria. Besides, the judge observed, the right of choice of who treats a patient who is on trial may undermine the judicial process when a defendant is allowed to fly abroad whereas his condition could be adequately catered for within same country.  Given the availability of specialist hospitals within Nigeria capable of taking care of the purported health condition of Mr. Akingbola, he said, the rogue banker’s right of doctor should be exercised within the country.

With reference to the second application to the court to change his bail terms concerning reporting to the offices of the EFCC, Mr. Akingbola and his alleged accomplice, Mr. Bayo Dada, received the mercy of the court and will now report only fortnightly.

“The defendants shall appear at the EFCC office not later than one hour before closing hour on Fridays of every first and third week of the month,” the court held.

Initially, the two men were required to report every first working day of every week, amounting to four times in a month.

Mr. Onigbanjo adjourned the trial to the 10th, 14th and 15th of July, 2013.

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