Former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, who is facing trial relating to the 2014 Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment tragedy was, Friday, granted leave to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for medical tourism.
Moro, alongside three others are standing trial for their roles in the botched March 15, 2014 immigration recruitment exercise in whuch no fewer than 18 job seekers across the country, were killed, while many others got injured.
Arguing the application for the release of Moro’s International Passport, the defence counsel, Akinolu Kehinde, appealed to the trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the release of the International Passport to enable him carry out a follow up to an earlier medical check up.
In granting the application, Justice Dimgba said in recognition of the fact that when the defendant was first granted the same leave earlier in his trial on self recognition, he came back without fuss.
“Having listened to counsel and the materials placed before me, and considering earlier leave granted him, he came back to face his trial, I have no reason to refuse the application.
“Permission is granted to the applicant to travel to UAE for medical reasons, for three weeks.
“The International Passport shall be released to him but subject to a letter of undertaken by a surety or his senior counsel, to ganuranty he will come back to face his trial. A copy of the letter should be made available to the prosecution counsel and upon return shall return the passport to the court”, Dimgba ruled.
The court had earlier adjourned to May 19 for continuation of trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had arraigned Moro and three others, on an 11-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence, procurement fraud and money laundering.
His co-accused are Permanent Secretaryof the Ministry of Interior at the time, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; a Deputy Director in the Ministry, F. O Alayebami and the contracting firm given the recruitment job, Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC accused the defendants of defrauding 676,675 Nigerian applicants of N676,675,000.
Each of the 676,675 applicants were charged N1,000 each for the participating in the recruitment exercise.
The anti-graft agency also accused the defendants of flouting the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 in the award of the contract for the organisation of the recruitment test to Drexel Tech Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC said Drexel EFCC had no prior advertisement and no needs assessment and procurement plan was carried out before the contract was awarded.
According to the anti-graft agency, the contract was awarded through selective tendering procedure by invitation of 4 (Four) firms without seeking the approval of the Bureau for Public Procurement, contrary to sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007 and punishable under section 58 of the same act.
Drexel is also alleged to be unregistered and had no legal capacity to enter into the said contract.
There is also said to be no budgetary provision for the exercise in the 2014 Federal Capital budget hence the applicants were made to bear the responsibility of funding the project without approval of the Board contrary to section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000, the charge said.