Evidence against Okah 'fabricated'

2010-11-04 12:53

Johannesburg - Evidence against suspected Nigerian bombing conspirator Henry Okah was fabricated, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

"The content of the (State's) affidavit is not true," Okah's lawyer Rudi Krause read to the court from a responding affidavit.

"My wife overheard the prosecutor saying: 'Just get me something, I don't care what it is'."

Okah, who is suspected to have been the mastermind behind the October 1 Independence Day car bombs in Abuja, Nigeria maintained the prosecution had yet to produce evidence linking him directly to the crime.

He denied knowing Chima Orlu, who the State alleges was wanted as one of the men behind the bombings. He also denied allegations the two cars used in the bombing were purchased at his behest.

"I deny that the Mazda 626 was purchased on my instructions," Krause read. Okah challenged the State to produce evidence that he had been in contact with Orlu on the day of the bombings. He accused the prosecution of trying to appease Nigerian authorities by arresting and detaining him.

"I'm simply being detained for political reasons," Okah claimed.

Terrorism charges

Nigerian authorities, Okah said, wanted the South African government to keep him in prison until the western African country's elections in 2011.

Okah faces charges of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to do so, and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

The State alleges Okah masterminded the bombings that killed 12 people and injured 36 people in his home country.

While in South Africa, Okah allegedly instructed his co-conspirators to drive the cars to where the attacks would be launched. The two cars were loaded with dynamite and parked on a road near a prominent hotel in Abuja, where Independence Day celebrations were taking place.

An SMS Orlu allegedly sent which read: "Done, tell them to leave", was forwarded to Okah on the day of the October 1 attacks.

His bail application was adjourned for tea.