Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday granted the former head of service of the federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita bail in the sum of N100 million.
She was accused of fraud in relation to duty tour allowance, estacodes, conference fees and receiving kickbacks on contracts.
Oyo-Ita was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC) on an 18-count charge alongside her special assistant, Ubong Effiok, Frontline Ace Global Services Limited, Asanaya Projects Ltd, Garba Umar and his companies, Slopes International Ltd and Gooddeal Investments Ltd.
The other defendants are U & U Global Services Ltd, belonging to Effiok, and Prince Mega Logistics Ltd.
When the 18 charges were read, the defendants all pleaded not guilty to the offences.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, M.S. Abubakar, told the court that he was aware of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world and therefore urged the court to place stringent bail terms and conditions that would not undermine the bail system.
But counsel for the defendants, Messrs Paul Erokoro, A.C Ananukwa, Ebuka Nwaeze and Okechukwu Ajunwa, applied for less stringent bail in the light of the scourge.
After listening to the arguments, the judge granted the first defendant bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.
“After due judicial and judicious consideration of the plea of the counsel and the response of the prosecutor, bail is therefore granted to the first defendant in the sum of N100 million and two sureties in like sum,” he declared.
He said one of the sureties must be a civil servant, who shall not be below the grade level of 17 in any federal government ministry, agency or parastatal.
“The sureties shall be resident in Abuja and one of them must be the owner of property worth N100 million in the metropolis of the Federal Capital Territory.
“The sureties must depose to affidavit of means and shall attach their passport to the affidavit.
“The surety that is not a civil servant shall be gainfully employed and he shall aver in his affidavit of means that he would be able to pay N100 million in the event that the first defendant jumps bail.
The judge ordered that Oyo-Ita’s international passport should be deposited with the chief registrar of the court.
For the fourth and seventh defendants, the judge said “bail is granted in the sum of N50 million and two sureties in like sum” adding that the other bail conditions for the fourth and seventh defendants are the same as Oyo-Ita’s.
After reading out the bail conditions for all the defendants, the judge said: “Meanwhile until the bail conditions are met, the defendants are released to their respective counsel, who shall ensure that (the defendants are available) between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12 noon every day for the next seven days when the defendants are expected to have met the bail conditions.”
“The defendants shall report at the office of the EFCC to ensure that they are still in Abuja but yet to perfect their bail conditions. They can only show up at the office of the prosecutor for that purpose only and shall be allowed to go.
“However if the conditions are not met within seven days, the defendants shall be remanded in the facility of the EFCC until they meet the conditions of bail.”
He added: “The court has taken the decision to release the defendants to their respective counsel for seven days only until they perfect their bail terms, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The lives of the defendants should not be put in unnecessary danger.”
With Premium Times report