N8b CBN Fraud: Court Grants Five Of 15 Accused Persons Bail
IT was sweet victory for five out of the 15 suspects standing trial before Justice Olayinka Faji over the N8 billion currency mutilation scandal as the court granted them bail, saying the allegations against them were not as weighty as the others.
But 10 others comprising former members of staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some commercial banks were denied bail on the ground they were substantially linked with the charges.
Justice Faji in his over two-hour ruling said: “Having perused the bail application, I am of the view that the evidence against them are not strong enough. The case against them are borderline cases and in such situations, the court is urged to lean in favour of liberty of the citizens.”
The five suspects granted bail were Ademola Ebenezer Adewole, Kehinde Fadokun, Olukunle Sijuwade, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide. Justice Faji granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N20 million and two sure ties in like sum. He held that the sureties must have landed property and reside in Oyo.
In addition, they must have three years current tax certificate. The Judge directed that the accused persons must report to the EFCC office once every three weeks and deposit their international passports before the court.
While refusing the bail application of the other 10 accused persons brought before him, Justice Faji said the evidence against them was very strong even though they were not on trial yet.
“It would be unfair not to consider the statements made by the accused because their statements suggested their involvement in the fraud,” he said.
He started that in granting a bail application, two issues to consider are the nature of offence and ground of interference. On the nature of offence, Justice Faji said by virtue of Section 1(2) of the Advance Free Fraud, the penalty of the offence is not less than seven years and more than 20 years without an option of fine, adding “in all situations, the offences are severe.”
On the strength and ground of interference, the Judge held that the evidence against the accused was very strong, pointing out that some of them have assets in excess of their earnings. “The suspects now know the gravity of the charges unlike when they were before the EFCC.
I am not persuaded that the fraud charges are the ones that should be granted bail. Some of the offences are advanced free fraud cases and the penalty should not be a pat in the back. The offences have a lot to do with the economy of the country, over N7b is involved. I therefore deny them bail and refuse bail in respect of all the charges.”