Magistrate Kennedy Peabody of the Monrovia City Court yesterday absolutely contradicted Cllr. Edwin Martin’s account that they have issued an international alert for the arrest of charged Guarantee Trust (GT) Bank Managing Director, Ayodeji Bejide, sought permission from the court to seek medication in his native country, Nigeria. Cllr. Martin, who is one of the lead prosecutors in the case, is the County Attorney for Montserrado.
Magistrate Peabody in early October 2018, while presiding over a charge of aggravated assault brought against Bejide, lifted the government’s travel ban on the defendant, permitting him to leave for a two-week medical trip outside the country, specifically in his native Nigeria, from where he is yet to return to defend his criminal charge.
Bejide, according to police, on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, threw his calculator at the face of one of his staff members in a fit of rage during a meeting. The staff member, identified as Edward Freeman, sustained a serious injury on the lip.
Bejide was later charged with aggravated assault and arraigned on August 30 before the Monrovia City Court, after which Magistrate Peabody granted him a permission for medical leave.
Addressing journalists at his Temple of Justice office, Cllr. Martin said the government has issued a red flag (international alert) to its Nigerian counterpart for the arrest of defendant Bejide who, according to the prosecutor, was escaping justice, though Bejide had been under a US$50,000 bail posted by the Insurance Company of Africa (ICA).
“We have issued the red flag to Interpol in Nigeria and are waiting for their response so that we can provide them with the indictment and writ of the arrest of defendant Bejide,” Cllr. Martin said.
The county attorney’s assertion was in quick response to a protest staged by a group under the banner, “Concerned Citizens for Justice and Against Intimidation” who, on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, stormed the head office of Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank on 13th Street, Sinkor, to demand justice for Edward Freeman.
Shortly after the protest, Magistrate Peabody was contacted by the Daily Observer. He said he had no knowledge about the government issuing an international alert for the arrest of Bejide in Nigeria.
Peabody said Bejide had not been indicted by the government and since the defendant’s first arraignment on August 30, there is no record to show that the government has notified the court about its preparedness to pursue the matter.
“The prosecutors are yet to provide the court with a copy of the international arrest warrant,” Magistrate Peabody said. “If there was any record to that effect, they would have served us with a copy, which is not so. Check all of the court’s records and tell me if there was anything new about the case there. Absolutely nothing, the only thing you would see there is the August 2018 document on the matter.
“Maybe they are waiting to serve the court with a copy of the warrant,” Magistrate Peabody said.
Extradition refers to the process in which one state or nation gives over an individual to another state or nation for a criminal trial and/or punishment.