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OKAH TO FACE MORE CHARGES IN S'AFRICAN COURT

By NBF News
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A JOHANNESBURG Regional Court in South Africa has been told that additional charges are being brought against former militant leader, Henry Okah, now held for an alleged terror attack in Abuja last year.

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

According to a report, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has obtained a certificate from the National Director of Public Prosecutions to file charges of terrorism against Okah.

NPA spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, said South Africa has extra-territorial jurisdiction which allows 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 yesterday briefly appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court. 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 was said to have failed to convince the court that he was not the leader of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND). He is currently being held at Johannesburg prison, in solitary confinement.

'Okah is facing serious allegations which not only affected South Africa but the international community,' Mhaga said.

Okah, 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 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.

The State prosecutor yesterday 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, Delta State last year.

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