N104m fraud: Ex-SMEDAN DG gets N30m bail

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted bail to Bature Umar Masari, a former director general of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), who is facing a N104.7 million fraud charge. Masari was first arraigned on April 9, this year on a 17-count charge, following allegations of money laundering activities and benefitting from proceeds of gratification.

His Counsel, A. Magaji (SAN), had made an oral application for bail, which was opposed by the prosecution, prompting the trial Judge to fix hearing on the bail application for April 12, this year and ordered the remand of the defendant in prison.At the resumed hearing yesterday, the court held that a defendant could make oral application for bail.

Counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Faruk Abdullahi, noted that bail was at the discretion of court, adding that what is paramount is to ensure that the defendant comes to court for his trial and urged the court to impose conditions that would ensure that Masari attends his trial.

Subsequently, Justice Abang granted Masari bail in the sum of N30 million, with one surety in like sum, who must be resident in Abuja and must have a landed property with certificate of ownership. Masari was also ordered to deposit his international passport with the Registrar of the court.The case has been adjourned until May 24, this year for hearing.

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Bature Umar MasariSMEDAN
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