NPA can charge Okah with terrorism

2010-10-14 14:50

Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority has obtained a certificate to lay charges of terrorism against Nigerian ex-militant leader Henry Okah on Thursday afternoon.

State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams, accompanied by colleagues and spokesperson for the NPA Mthunzi Mhaga, arrived in court with beaming smiles and copies of the document in their hands.

"We did get it," said Mhaga who could not hide his excitement.

Earlier, the document had been high on the agenda in Johannesburg Magistrate's Court as the defence and prosecution held long deliberations over it.

Magistrate Hein Louw found that the prosecution had failed to provide the document and he was to have given a judgment on whether Okah could be released and his case struck off the roll.

Earlier defence lawyer Rudi Krause argued that due to the State's failure to provide the necessary documents, the court should order Okah's release.

However Abrahams opposed the motion.

"The State is aware of the fact that it needs authorisation from the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions) but in the interest of proper administration of justice this case should stand down until 15:00."

There was a risk that Okah could be re-arrested after the court ordered his release, said Abrahams.

Okah was facing serious allegations which not only affected South Africa but also the international community.

He was arrested in Johannesburg after a dual car bombing killed 12 people in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, on October 1.

Okah was charged with engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.