A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday fixed July 10 for the hearing of a application by Delta State Government, seeking to claim the $15million bribe allegedly offered former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu by jailed ex-Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
The bribe was allegedly meant by Ibori to stop the EFCC from further investigating him for his alleged massive looting of his state while in office.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date yesterday following a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, striking out an application by a Lagos-based refrigerator repairer, Olalekan Bayode seeking to halt further hearing in a suit pending the hearing of his appeal.
When the case was called yesterday, parties were set to argue the application by Delta State, but the court said it was inconvenient in view of its tight schedule and directed them to choose a fresh date
The Federal Government had applied to the court for an order of forfeiture and to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where Ribadu had lodged the bribe money he refused, to release it to the government should no one showed up to claim the money.
Delta State government later intervened, claiming ownership of the money. It is part of its contention that Ibori, being its governor when the bribe money was offered, must have taken the money from the state’s coffers.
Before Delta State’s application could be heard, Bayode applied that he be appointed as a manager to disburse the $15m bribe money to the indigents, especially widows and orphans through a charitable organization.
He applied to be joined in the case and prayed that the money to be released to him.
In a ruling, Justice Kolawole dismissed Bayode’s application for being frivolous and lacking in merit.
The judge held, among others that Bayode failed to show sufficient ground and interest upon which the money in dispute should be released to him.
Justice Kolawole held that Bayode only claimed to be a Nigerian and refrigerator repairer based at Alagbo in Lagos.
The judge further held that the Federal Government, who instituted the case, did not ask for manager to manage the fund, but applied that those with interest in the $15m should indicate before an order of forfeiture is made in its favour.
Justice Kolawole described Bayode as a busy body, meddlesome interloper and one, who was out to mock the judiciary and the serious issue at stake.