The Federal High Court, Abuja, has extended its permission to Doyin Okupe, a former media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, to travel to England for medical treatment.
The anti-graft agency, EFCC, is prosecuting Mr Okupe alongside his two companies – Value Trust Investments and Abrahams Telecoms – for allegedly laundering N702 million.
Mr Okupe, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arrested by the agency on December 12, 2018, but released on administrative bail. He was rearrested on January 11, 2019, but later released on bail.
He is standing trial before Ijeoma Ojukwu on a 59-count charge bordering on diversion of funds received from the equally embattled ex-National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Mr Okupe, who had just survived coronavirus, has at separate times accused the commission of ‘media trial.’
During Monday’s trial, the judge granted an extension of the court order permitting Mr Okupe to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.
According to a statement by the commission, the order was given “because Mr Okupe had been unable to do so since the order was given, due to the pandemic”.
The defence counsel, Akinlabi Akinbade, while making an oral application for the release of Mr Okupe’s international passport informed the court that his client’s appointment with his UK doctor has been rescheduled to December 20.
He promised to return Mr Okupe’s passport to the court on or before January 21, 2021.
Meanwhile, the defence also presented its third witness, Dele Oguntayo, a journalist, who described himself as the publisher of the “Federalist Newspaper,” a tabloid established under the Mr Okupe’s office.
Led in his testimony by defence counsel, the witness said the newspaper was sold for N150 per copy.
But upon cross-examination by the second defence’s counsel, Tolu Babaleye, he informed the court that the tabloids “were distributed free to readers and that the N150 cost it bore was a mere dummy.”
According to him, “only nine editions of the newspaper were published by the time he left in 2014”.
Justice Ojukwu adjourned the trial till February 8 and 9, 2021.