Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Bayelsa State, Chief Perekeme Richard Kpodo, has been docked and remanded to Okaka prison for two weeks for alleged rape.
Kpodo, who had been at logger heads with the leader of the APC in the state former governor Timipre Sylva and was romancing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led government in the state, had recently fell-out with the PDP and has been lately criticising the Bayelsa State Government.
He was arraigned before Magistrate, E.T Empire-Ugwa of Magistrate Court 10 on two counts of unlawful detention and rape of one Teke Blessing.
According to the Charge Sheet, Kpodo was alleged to have detained Blessing on June 20, 2018 at Etegwe area of Yenagoa with an intent to defile her and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 155 of the Criminal Code.
On count two, Kpodo, a former Security Adviser in the state, was said to have, on same day, allegedly detained the girl, raped her thereby committing an offence punishable under section 285 of the Criminal Code.
Kpodoh pleaded not guilty to the charges and his lawyer, Julius Iyekoroghe, who was represented by Funlayeifa Seibokuru, applied for the bail on grounds of sickness and personal recognition.
Seibokuru, in his argument, pointed out that the bail application was hinged on the fact that every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
According to him, the accused aside being hypertensive, also suffered other sicknesses and he appealed to the court to grant him bail because he is a known politician and businessman, who owned hotels and properties in the state.
He noted that the arraignment was politically motivated because he has refused overtures made to him by the PDP to back down on his criticism of government policies
“If granted bail, he won’t jump bail. We also have sureties that are also ready to take him on bail. The court should consider his ill health and his personality and grant him bail”, he said.
However, the Prosecutor Ayibatonye Jumbo, opposed the bail application noting that Kpodoh wields so much influence which can jeopardise the case if released on bail.
“There is the likelihood of the accused person interfering with the witnesses of the prosecution. The court should also consider the prevalence of the offence on daily basis.
“Almost on a daily basis, crimes like rape occur. Some are not reported because of stigma of the victims”, Jumbo said.
Jumbo also punctured the argument of the ailments afflicting the accused pointing out that there is no medical record to back up the claims.
“The count one is misdemeanour, which is not a serious offence. But the second count is felony and a serious offence, which if he is convicted, he will be jailed for life. Based on this, we appeal to the court to reject the bail application”.