Court denies CBN officials, others bail

CBN-LOGO-OKThe Federal High Court, Ibadan, yesterday denied bail to six Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and four other bank officials alleged to be involved in the N8 billion mutilated currency scam, according to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) The bank officials and 12 others are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in seven separate suits at the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division.

In his ruling on the bail application by the 10 accused, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel said that he exercised his discretion not to grant bail based on the weight of the proof of evidence before him.

“The proof of evidence before me is mind-boggling and weighty, and this suggests to me a new wave of economic crime which must be attended to.

“I do not think that the accused persons would not consider evading bail if given the opportunity to do so. “This crime also has an adverse effect on the economy and if found guilty, attracts a maximum of 21-year imprisonment, which is, therefore, equal to a capital offence.

“I consider this application practically untenable,” he said. The judge said that he was not persuaded or convinced that if granted bail, the accused persons would not interfere with the course of justice.

“The law is meant for social engineering and the interest of the common man must be considered over those of the accused persons,” Ayo-Emmanuel said.

The judge also ordered that one of the accused, Salami Ibrahim, be quarantined in prison custody due to an undisclosed health issue. “This is to determine his actual state of health and the report of his health condition is to be filed with the court,” he said.

Before adjourning the case to July 6 and July 7, Ayo-Emmanuel said that the three suits would be given accelerated hearing and cautioned counsel to parties against unnecessary applications for adjournment. Reacting to the ruling, EFCC counsel, Sunday Aborisade, commended the court for dutifully exercising its discretion not to admit the accused to bail.

The bank officials were accused of causing adversity to the economy by putting back in circulation mutilated currencies to the tune of N8 billion meant to be destroyed.

The accused were arraigned before Ayo-Emmanuel on June 2 in three separate cases and they all pleaded not guilty. The CBN officials involved are, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola, Togun Philip, Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Johnson, Ilori Sunday and Fatai Yusuf. Also arraigned were two Sterling Bank employees—Salami Ibrahim and Oddia Emmanuel— as well as Tope Akintade of Ecobank Plc.

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