An Austrian, Mr George Eider, standing trial for his role in the N6.5 billion aviation contract scam, on Monday sought the permission of an Abuja High Court to travel abroad for medical check-up. Eider is standing trial alongside former Aviation Minister, Prof. Babalola Borisade, an aide, Timothy Dairo and former Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi.
The four were arraigned by the EFCC on a 15-count charge, bordering on bribe taking and forging of documents relating to the Nov. 19, 2009 N6.5 billion aviation safe tower contract.. Eider, through his counsel, Mobayonle Ogunmiyiju, in his application, prayed Justice Abubakar Umar for leave to travel to Vienna, Austria for medical treatment from Dec. 19, to Jan. 21, 2012. He also prayed the court to order the release of his international passport to enable him travel. Ogunmiyiju told the court that it was only a fit person that could stand trial.
He said, “Granting this application will benefit the prosecution, because my client is sick, he cannot stand trial. We are ready and willing to clear our names of this charge.” The accused, already on bail, said that it was on record that he had always returned to the country to face trial on the four occasions that the court granted him leave to travel for medical checks. He also prayed the court to take judicial notice of the fact that the accused had never failed to appear in court since the trial began in 2009.
But EFCC counsel, Emeka Njokwu, opposed the application, adding that the accused has not shown any compelling reasons to warrant the granting of such an application. He expressed fears that the accused would abscond and refuse to come back to the country to face his trial The EFCC counsel also said that the accused had not given any evidence to show that the medical checks could not be carried out in the country. Njokwu also said that the granting of the application, would further slow the quick dispensation of the matter, which has suffered “too many adjournments in the last two years”.