Alleged fraud: Court grants bail to former HoS, Oyo-Ita

The immediate-past Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS), Winnifred Oyo-Ita and eight others were yesterday arraigned before the Federal High Court, Abuja on 18-count charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Others arraigned along with Oyo-Ita, are: Frontline Ace Global Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Limited; Garba Umar and his companies: Slopes International Limited; Gooddeal Investments Limited; Ubong Okon Effiok and his own company, U & U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.

They all entered a plea of not guilty to all the charges. Following their plea, their lawyers made oral applications for their bail.

Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), who appeared for the former the Head of Service, prayed the court to admit her client to bail in liberal terms in view of the Corona virus pandemic.

He noted that the pandemic is a clear threat to life and the government has taken steps to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.

Besides, Erokoro undertook to produce his client to court to stand her trial.

Other counsel to the defendants, Anthony Ananukwa; for Garba Umar, Ebuka Nwaeze for Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investment Limited and Okechukwu Ajuwa for Ubong Effiok and Prince Mega Logistics Limited, all urged the court to grant their clients bail.

Responding, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, only urged the court to attach conditions such conditions to their bail in a way that would compel their appearance in court.

He said he took the decision in view of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.

Justice Taiwo admitted her to bail in the sum of N100m and two sureties.

One of the sureties must be a Grade level 17 officer in Federal Government employment and must have a landed property worth the bail bond.

The second surety must show evidence of being gainfully employed and have the capacity to pay the sum of N100m in the event that the defendant jumps bail.

Other conditions are that Oyo-Ita must deposit her two passports with the registrar of the court and shall be reporting to the prosecuting counsel at the EFCC office for seven days with effect from March 24, pending when she would perfect the conditions attached to her bail.

Justice Taiwo who released Oyo-Ita, to her counsel, Paul Erokoro, for the seven days period, warned that if she failed to meet her bail conditions within the period, she would be remanded in the custody of the EFCC.

Taiwo also admitted Garuba Umar and Ubong Effiok to bail in the sum of N50m each. Other conditions attached to their bail are similar to that of Oyo-Ita.

The trial was adjourned to May 27, 28 and June 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

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