JUSTIN KONE Katinan, an ex-Ivorian minister who is in the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) pending extradition, has been granted bail by an Osu District Magistrate Court.

The court presided over by Aboagye Tando granted him a GH?50,000 bail with two sureties, after observing that there was a greater potential that the process for extradition by the state was likely to delay.

When the case was called, Merley Wood, chief state attorney, informed the court that they were still going through certain documents sent to them from Cote d?Ivoire concerning the matter. As a result of that, she would not be able to start the hearing of the case yesterday.

This made Patrick Sorgbodzo, counsel for Mr. Katinan, to argue that his client?s liberty was being trampled upon and therefore repeated his application for bail, relying on earlier submissions made to the court.

He indicated that the defence had not been given any indication as to when they would receive copies of the documents to also study them.

Mr. Sorgbodzo, who was of the view that the state should have produced the documents which had been transcribed so far, indicated that the defence had French lawyers who could assist them.

Ms Wood, in response to the bail application, stated that ?my lord we leave it entirely in your hands?.

The court, after granting Mr Katinan bail, ordered him to report to the BNI every two weeks, on Mondays.

He also said his right to protection as asylum seeker under the laws should be intact until otherwise decided and adjourned the matter to October 11.

On the last adjourned date, Mrs. Yvonne Obuobisa, the principal state attorney, disclosed that the attorney-general had received certain documents from La Cote d?Ivoire and therefore would need time to study them.

She explained that they needed to do some translation since the documents involved two different countries with two different languages. Also, they needed time to prepare adequately for the extradition.

Mr. Katinan was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport on August 24, 2012 while returning from South Africa following a request from the Ivorian government for him to be extradited to face trial.

The ex-minister and some allies of Laurent Gbagbo, former Ivorian president, allegedly committed crimes including robbing financial institutions during the post-election violence in Cote d?Ivoire.

He would be facing 10 counts of robbery should he be extradited.

Justin holds a refugee card from the Ghana Refugee Board which is also recognized by the UNHCR.

The Attorney-General is reportedly studying the extradition instruments to know the next step to take.

By Mary Anane

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