Court Blocks Okah’s Bid to View Evidence

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    The bid by Henry Okah, former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta to view evidence used by South African prosecutors to link him to the October 1 Abuja bombings was yesterday dealt a blow by the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

    Also yesterday, Okah’s wife, Azuka, faced contempt of court charges at the same Johannesburg Magistrate's Court. Her phone rang on Thursday during hearing of the bail application for her husband.
    In a related development, five persons arrested with Charles Okah in connection with the bomb blasts have regained their freedom from captivity of the State Security Service.

    Handing down judgment, magistrate Hein Louw only granted Okah's defence team access to the hard drives of computers and cell phones confiscated from his home during an October 2 raid.
    "I order that a mirror copy image of computer hard drives, cell phone hard drives and memories be made available to the applicant in no later than three working days," Louw said.
    He refused to give the defence permission to access information underpinning the state's latest revelation in Okah's bail application.

    "In due course the defence will have opportunity to access such information," Louw ordered.
    In evidence presented to the court on Thursday, the prosecution alleged that the 45-year old former marine engineer had been in contact with the people who coordinated the October 1 car bombings in Abuja, which killed 12 people and injured 36.

    "Prior to the detonation of the two improvised explosive devices on 1 October in Abuja, two vehicles, namely a Honda and a Mazda 626, were purchased in Lagos on the instruction of the accused, by persons complicit in the crime," state prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said.

    Reading from an affidavit compiled by investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Zeeman, Abrahams said Okah had been in contact with Chima Orlu, one of two men wanted in connection with the bombings.
    While in South Africa, Okah had allegedly instructed his co-conspirators to drive the cars to where the attacks would be launched.
    An SMS Orlu allegedly sent which read: "Done, tell them to leave," was forwarded to Okah on the day of the October 1 attacks.

    In a responding affidavit, Okah denied his involvement in the attacks and asked the court to grant him permission to view the evidence.
    "Put your money where your mouth is. Show us the evidence," Okah's lawyer Rudi Krause said before the ruling by Louw.
    However Abrahams said granting Okah access to the information would put the defence in a position to influence Zeeman's investigation.

    "If he has access to people we have here, he can find out who they have been contacting. Okah's phoning television station Al Jazeera while he was in a Johannesburg prison, meant he could contact anyone," Abrahams told the court in opposing the application.

    He said the state would give Okah access to information found on his hard drive and a copy of records from his cell phone.
    He maintained that the police investigation was only 22-days-old and that letting Okah's lawyers "peek over the shoulders of investigating authorities" would prejudice their case.

    Okah's close ties to some senior officials in the Nigerian government also placed him in a position to interfere with the investigation being conducted in his home country and in South Africa.
    Okah faces charges of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to do so, and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

    Okah has denied involvement in the bombings and also denied that he was a senior member of MEND.
    The fact that in one of her letters to the media, his wife, Azuka Okah referred to him as the leader of MEND was used as circumstantial evidence that he was indeed a leader of the rebel group.

    "I think she did it for clarity, because a lot of the media refer to me as a leader of MEND," Okah said in his defence.
    Using the alias, Jomo Gbomo, Okah allegedly sent emails to media and Nigerians, warning about the attacks.
    He had testified during his bail application, but failed to answer questions relating to a list of high calibre weapons, including anti-tank land mines, machine guns and air missiles found in one of his diaries.

    The state alleged that Okah had intended to buy the listed weapons as they matched those found in a quotation.
    He dismissed this, saying the list was merely notes he had written while reading warfare books "for intellectual purposes".
    Similarly, case number 41/2912/2010 against Mrs. Azuka Okah was called up yesterday and she appeared in the dock.

    "I wish it was someone else. This court cannot continue in this fashion,â€

    Hamisu Member

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    i pray that evry invle should be arested

    coded-1 Member

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    D man iz very guity nd dey should just kill him nd iz entire family 4 d wicked dat he did
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    Seconded


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