Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, said he would give a ruling on the various bail applications filed in the court by the counsel for the officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other banks involved in the N8bn mutilated currency fraud on June 15.
At the inception of the bail application hearing on Tuesday, Justice Emmanuel called on all the counsel for the accused persons to formalise their bail applications and return for hearing in two hours.
Ten accused persons were brought to the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and they were charged alongside two others at large.
The hearing which consumed several hours was done in three batches, with Patience Okoro, Afolabi Johnson, Ilori Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola and Fatai Yusuf in the first batch. Babalola and Yusuf were also docked in the second batch with Kayode Philips, Salami Ibrahim and Oddiah Emmanuel. In the third batch, Kolawole, Adeola and Philips appeared with Tope Akintade.
After hearing arguments with EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, opposing the bail applications of the counsel for the accused persons which was hinged on a possible disappearance of the accused persons in the suit, Justice Emmanuel ruled that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody until June 15 when ruling would be given on their bail applications.
In a 19-paragraph affidavit submitted by the counsel for Akintade, Femi Jarett-Edema, told the court that his client was standing trial for only one-count charge and that there were no sufficient facts that the accused person would abscond if admitted on bail.
He also argued that his client had no criminal record while also submitting additional five-paragraph affidavit in reaction to EFCC’s counter affidavit to the bail application.
In his submission, the counsel for Olaniran Adeola, Olalekan Ojo, said that it was unfair to imprison an accused person to await his trial.
He said that the gravity of his client’s offence was irrelevant to the bail application and that there were no materials in support of possible interference of prosecution witnesses by his client.
He also accused the prosecution counsel of serving offensive counter affidavit opposing the bail application.
He said, “The counter affidavit of the prosecution is offensive. This country has gone beyond the dark era when accused persons were refused bail during trial.”
Responding to the allegation, EFCC lead counsel, Jacobs, denied filing any offensive affidavit while also calling on the court not to grant bail to all the accused persons.
In his opposition to the bail application on behalf of Mrs. Okoro by her counsel, Kazeem Lawal, Jacobs pointed out that the affidavit deposed to by Okoro failed to state how the information in it was derived.
“This particular case involved N10m in which only cut-to-size newspapers were presented and burnt, as if they were mutilated notes. There was no single naira in the box. This discovery triggered the whole case. – Punch.