By Tahir Sherrif
“Execution of Nigeria’s senior diplomat: revelation of the role of the government in the trial process and post-judgement phase that led to the victims lossing millions of USD and professional fess and the cost of executing the Certificate of Authority.”
Like every other person who had a business at the Nigerian embassy at Prague, Czech Republic 72-year-old Jiri Pasovsky walked in armed with a loaded gun and 50 bullets, after a few minutes of conversation, pointed a German made pistol at close range and fired two shots to the head and one through the heart of Michael Lekare WAYI, Nigeria’s senior diplomate and Consul to the Czech Republic, killing him in cold blood.
Pasovsky also shot the embassy receptionist and attempted to murder Amb. Ayorinde as well as other senior diplomatic staff at the Embassy. He escaped and was later captured by the Czech Federal Police. Jiri PASOVSKY, a medical doctor was at the time and was also a ex-KGB/BIS Agent with code name “Duhak” meaning “Rainbow” in English. Pasovsky had served in Libya, Qatar, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Late Mr Wayi was a member of NIA.
The incident occured in 2003. The questions that sprouted from different corners remain unanswered until date. One thing was clear, Pasovsky was a Czech citizen had lost over one million Euros in a 419 NNPC investment scam allegedly masterminded by some Nigerian con men. He had been told that he was buying into an Oil well in the rich savannah region of Nigeria. Pasovsky had been seeking the Nigerian government’s help in getting his money back for almost a year before he met with Wayi for the last time.
Relations between Nigeria and the Czech Republic was immediately severed and the Nigeria Embasy closed. The Office of the State Prosecutor in the Czech Republic (Prosecutor) discontinued prosecution of the matter. The Union of Nigerian in the Czech Republic (UNCR), members of the international community and the Press, pressurized the Czech Government (GCR) to reopen the matter, and in 2005 the current Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Nuhu Bajoga Audu who at the time was Nigerian Ambassador to Poland with concurrent accreditation to the Czech Republic duly contracted the Law Offices of Edward M. Asu, Esq. by executing a Certificate of Authority before the Metropolitan Court at Spalena in Prague to hold brief for the government and the deceased in the case.
The case was filed MUDr. Jiri Pasovsky, Case No. 45 T 21/2004 at the Municipal Court in Prague, as well as before appellate jurisdictions in the murder trial.
The case turned out to be a tricky one, at first he was to be prosecuted, but reports from some ‘experts’ judged Pasovsky to be insane and the state attorney had him placed in a psychiatric care facility. She halted prosecution and recommended that Pasovsky be placed in permanent care.
With the effort of the team of lawyers, the suspect charged with the killing of WAYI was sentenced by sitting Jury lead by Judge Miroslava Strakova to eight years imprisonment. The lawyers still perceiving the sentence to be rather light considering Wayi’s position as not only a very senior diplomat but also a father and care-taker for multiple dependents also appealed, which if succesful would entitle a civil suit against the culprit and the Czech government for damages to the deceased’s family, these actions all required the authorization from representatives of the Nigerian government who had mandated them to carry up the case. The authorization never came instead the legal team received a cease and desist instruction: “not to do anything until the MFA instructed otherwise”.
Till today, eleven years after the first ever Nigerian diplomat was murdered in Prague, the families of Late Lekare Wayi have not received any compensation for their colossal loss and the team of lawyers who represented the Nigerian government – at the law firm’s own out of pocket costs – to secure a conviction against Pasovsk have not received their professional fees. The Nigerian Embassy in Prague was initially closed down, and all embassy activities were moved to Warsaw Poland.
Edward Asu Esq, lead counsel of the legal team which handled the case told NewswireNGR during an interview session that he had made endless appeals to the Federal Government for the payment of these funds for over 9 years to no avail. Currently, the file has been with the FMJ since 22 May 2014 which remains untreated until date. The FMJ has made numerous unfounded allegations against the legal team. The matter was addressed to the Presidency and the MFA who after Months are yet to respond.
‘…Recently, we have had conflicting information from the FMJ and MFA, where the latter states that our invoices have been approved (the amount and expected payment date were not disclosed), whilst the former states that our invoices was already paid without furnishing any evidence of payment but rather reverses the onus of proving that we did not receive the payment upon us, in addition to numerous other accusations…’
‘..In 2009, we were basically called names, representatives of the Federal Government claimed that it did not know about such a case and was not familiar with the retention of our professional services even though the Permanent Secretary of MFA and deputy director of NIA were in attendance at the trial at the time…’ Asu stated during a recent interview.
Asu Esq. and other experts are not the only persons suffering losses caused by the apparent laxity of the representatives of the Nigerian government to promptly act as and when due. The families of the late Lekare Wayi equally suffered significant losses beyond the death of their kin. Investigations revealed that following the incident, at least 17 dependents (Secondary School and University students) all members of Lekare Wayi family lost their sponsorship. The loss that the late Mr Wayi suffered including loss of income/earnings, pension and gratuity was estimated at USD4.9 million. The Metropolitan Court in Prague, (MCP) having successfully prosecuted the matter would have granted redress under the Victims Compensations Act, but Edward Asu, Esq. was expressly instructed by the Nigerian Embassy Warsaw against further action until the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise through the Embassy.
A senior officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who spoke with NewsWireNGR on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized revealed that a coalition of high ranking government officials within the NIA (an institution to which the late Wayi belonged to), the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Federal Ministry of Justice and are dedicated to ensuring that the incident surrounding the late Wayi stays buried, adding that millions of Naira had exchanged hands to keep it so.
‘…I mean an ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is equivalent to the President of Nigeria in the jurisdiction of accreditation and represents the Federal Republic of Nigeria in such jurisdiction. If those responsible for the 419 scam leading to his death cannot be found, then it is without doubt that high profiled government officials may have spear-headed the killing in the first place…’
Lekare Wayi a senior diplomat serving his country in peace time was the first Nigerian to have suffered such a fate. The events of 2003 will continue to create disturbing notions of the value of the lives of Nigerians home and abroad.
Questions as to why it had happened have been significantly answered, how it had happed and whether it is likely to re-occur is entirely unanswerable. Especially given that following the incident questions as to how the man who carried out the 419 scam leading to the assassination of a Nigerian Ambassador in a foreign country has remained at large? How was he able to carry out a scam of that magnitude at that time?
Alongside that, other unanswered questions include how Pasovsky, an armed gunman with a box of 50 bullets was able to walk into the Nigerian embassy in Prague, through all security protocols and execute a senior diolomat, albeit that his plan to execute all the senior diplomatic staff failed? Why has the Nigerian government refused to fulfil their obligations to the legal team involved in seeking redress and justice for a Nigerian who suffered at the hands of foreigners, a diplomat who is officially the representative of the Nigerian president and the country? Most damaging, why it acing in ways that indicate it plans to put a lid on the case?
Officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice have refused to grant audience on the issue, and Legal Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Barr. D. J. Bature responded to NewsWireNGR by saying that as a Civil Servant and a representative of the government, he could not grant interviews to NewsWireNGR.
The Federal Government has been facing a payment order lawsuit to the tune of over 400 000 Euros being unpaid costs of executing the Certificate of Authority as well as the professional legal services rendered by Law Firm of Asu, Esq. retained to represent the Federal Government of Nigeria and the family of the deceased. All credit to those responsible for a disastrous handling of the events in 2003.
As of today, Pasovky is walking free, after spending only 6 months in jail. The Nigerian embassy at Prague has been re-opened. The man responsible for the scam which led to the death of a senior Nigerian diplomat is still at large, and the victims of a crime committed against them at a country which serves as a hallmark of justice are yet to find peace. Unless the Federal Government seeks to redress this by compensating those affected and meeting its financial obligations, only one statement would be sufficient to justify such a tragic event. This is Nigeria, a country where anything happens and no one cares.