Monday, 19 November 2012

Refrigerator repairer wants $15m ‘Ibori bribe’ in his custody

A Lagos-based refrigerator repairer, Olalekan Bayode, has applied to Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to appoint him as a manager of the disputed $15 million alleged James Ibori bribe.
The plaintiff, through his counsel John Olufemi Aina, sought the order of Justice Kolawole, to make him an intervener in the dispute and to appoint him as a sole agent to be in custody of the money till an undisclosed period of time.
He asked the judge to make an order compelling the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the money to him for proper management following the dispute on the ownership of the fund by the federal and Delta state governments.
The applicant, who lives at Alagbado in Lagos, will, however, on Friday, November 23, know his fate on whether the court would grant his request or not.
Justice Kolawole reserved the ruling till the date following vehement objections to the request by the federal government lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, and counsel to the Delta state government, Chief Charles Ajuyab.
The mode of writing the letter directly to the judge instead of the court registrar as allowed by the law was faulted and the letter rejected.
In objecting to the request for adjournment, Delta state government’s counsel and the state Attorney-General, Chief Ajuyah, informed the court that the applicant failed to show his interest or ownership of the money.

He recalled an order made by the court on July 24, asking any Nigerian wishing to claim the ownership of the money to do so within 14 days before the order of forfeiture would be made.
He submitted that the application of the refrigerator repairer, brought after the expiration of the 14 days order of Justice Kolawole, was baseless and a ploy to slow down hearing of the substantive case and asked the court to dismiss the request.
Also objecting to the request, Jacobs, who stood in for the federal government, described the applicant as a “meddlesome interloper” who had no interest whatsoever in the subject of the suit.
Jacobs, therefore, urged the court not to make the applicant an intervener because he did not show any interest other than mere claim of being a Nigerian, a refrigerator repairer in Lagos and a beneficial owner of the money.
Justice Kolawole will, however, rule on November 23, 2012 on the objection.

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