Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, and his wife may escape justice if the request of the former governor is granted to travel abroad.
Sylva, who is standing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for alleged money laundering-related offences, is asking the court for permission to accompany his wife on a foreign trip.
During the hearing, counsel to Sylva, O.I Olorundare (SAN), told the court that the former governor’s wife was scheduled for surgery in a United Kingdom (UK) hospital on May 31 and needed his company.
He urged the court to release his international passport to enable him embark on the trip.
He however, promised to return for trial and to also return the passport to the custody of the court.
Sylva said the ground for his application was that it was part of the conditions attached to the bail granted him last June, to always seek the court’s leave before engaging in foreign trip.
The EFCC, in its objection through its counsel, John Arieto, urged the court to refuse Sylva’s application on the ground that he could refuse to return for trial.
He noted stated that since Sylva was arraigned in June last year and granted bail, the agency had unearthed fresh evidence that the accused person allegedly engaged in fraudulent acquisition of property through other private persons.
He added that the commission is also ready to prefer charge against Sylva’s wife.
The commission further stated that in view of the new discovery, it got a court order last December, freezing the new assets.
EFCC said investigation was still ongoing, and it could be jeopadised should Sylva be allowed to travel.
The trial judge, Justice Adamu Bello, adjourned till May 30, 2013 for ruling after listening to counsels’ submission in the matter.