Okah to face additional charges

2011-04-18 14:20

Johannesburg - Additional charges are being brought against a Nigerian being held for an alleged terror attack in his country last year, the Johannesburg Regional Court heard on Monday.

Henry Okah, who was living in Johannesburg at the time, was arrested the day after the twin car bombing in Abuja, Nigeria, in October, in which 12 people died and 36 were injured.

The National Prosecuting Authority has obtained a certificate from the National Director of Public Prosecutions to lay charges of terrorism against Okah.

Extra-territorial jurisdiction

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said South Africa had extra-territorial jurisdiction which allowed it to try any person, who was found or based in South Africa, even if the offence was committed outside the borders of the country.

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

Okah, a former militant leader who left Nigeria for Johannesburg after being released from prison in July 2009 while facing treason and gun running charges, is accused of masterminding the attack on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend).

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

A day before the bombings, security agencies in South Africa raided Okah's home and seized a laptop, though they did not arrest him.

The day after the attack he was arrested on allegation of contravening the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.

Additional charges

The State prosecutor on Monday said additional charges of terrorism and terror financing were being added to the charge sheet against Okah.

Advocate Shaun Abrahams said the additional charges were in connection with the March 15 bombing in Warri, Nigeria last year.

There was also a "possible" charge of money laundering.

Okah briefly appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court on Monday.

The State asked for the case to be postponed for further investigation and so that an indictment could be served.

The case was postponed to June 21. Okah would remain in police custody.

He was denied bail in the court late last year.

Okah failed to convince the court that he was not the leader of the Mend.

He is currently being held at Johannesburg Prison, in solitary confinement.

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