Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Court to police chief: place convicted oil magnate under watch

Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, yesterday ordered the Lagos State commissioner of Police to keep a convicted oil magnate, Ada Ugo-Ndagi, under watch pending her transfer to prison.
The judge also ordered the medical directors of Havana Hospital, Surulere and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to swear to an affidavit, stating her health status.

Justice Okunnu gave the orders as Ugo-Ndagi failed to appear in court yesterday for sentencing.

The court, on Friday, convicted Mr Walter Wagbasoma and Ugo-Ndagi, chairman and managing director of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, and their company for N754 million subsidy fraud preferred against them by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the resumed proceedings yesterday, Ugo-Ndagi, through her counsel, Mr. Y.A Kadiri, told the court she was in hospital.

Ugo-Ndagi, on Friday, slumped and fainted when Justice Okunnu was about to sentence her.
Wagbatsoma, who is the first defendant, was not in court.

He was arrested in Germany for alleged involvement in a multi-million pounds sterling transaction, and in jail in the United Kingdom (UK).

Kadiri added that Ugo-Ndagi was rushed to Havana Hospital, and placed on life support and oxygen.
“The prison officials were with her throughout Friday and on Saturday she was referred to LUTH where she is currently receiving treatment,” Kadiri said.

The lawyer presented a medical report from Havana Hospital, and informed the court they were trying to get LUTH’s report.

Counsel to EFCC Rotimi Jacobs reminded the court of some developments in the matter.
Jacobs recalled that the first convict, Wagbasoma, told the court earlier he was on admission at National Hospital, Abuja.

He said Wagbatsoma was discovered to be in Germany, although his international passport was with the chief registrar.

“We are aware that the convict was at Havana where the prison officials and some EFCC operatives kept watch over her. The prison officials were however not comfortable with the private hospital and she was transferred to LUTH on request,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs, however, added that as at Friday, Ndagi was in stable condition, and asked the court to pronounce sentence in the absence of the convicts.

But Justice Okunnu observed there was a lacuna in the law regarding sentencing in absentia.
She reserved sentencing and ordered the commissioner to keep Ndagi under watch.

“The medical report presented by the second convict must be accompanied by an affidavit which must be filed today. The medical Director must also swear to an affidavit stating her exact medical condition,” she ordered.

The matter was adjourned till Wednesday for sentencing.

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