Okah not legal in SA - State

2010-11-04 15:02
Johannesburg - Alleged Nigerian terror bombing conspirator Henry Okah has applied for refugee status as he was illegally in South Africa, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.

"He is also afraid that Nigerian authorities may apply for his extradition," State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said in closing argument in Okah's bail application.

He said that the State had a strong case and was confident that Okah would be convicted when the matter went to trial.

Okah is suspected to have been the mastermind behind the October 1 Independence Day car bombs in Abuja, Nigeria.

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

The State said the 45-year-old Nigerian faced administrative action from the department of home affairs for alleged fraud relating to his permanent residency in the country.

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

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

Contradicting evidence

Throughout his bail application Okah has maintained that the prosecution had yet to produce evidence linking him directly to the crime.

Earlier, magistrate Hein Louw conducted an inquiry after the State failed to give Okah's defence copies of contents taken from his computer hard drives and cellphone data.

Two State witnesses, a Warrant Officer Mufamadi and a Lieutenant-Colonel Makhuza, gave contradicting evidence, explaining why they failed to hand over the copies to the defence.

Both employed at the police's computer crimes unit, the two told the court that they could not comply with the order to hand over the document due to "technical reasons".

"It is clear that one of the two witnesses is lying to this court. I order the State to open two cases of perjury and bring this to the attention of the police head for disciplinary action against the two," Louw said.

The bail application was adjourned for lunch.

- SAPA
Read more on:    henry okah  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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