SARAKI’S AIDE GETS N250M BAIL

The Federal High Court In Ikoyi, Lagos, On Tuesday, Granted Bail In Sum Of N250 Million Each, To Gbenga Makanjuola, An Aide To Senate President Bukola Saraki And Others, Standing Trial For N3.5 Billion Fraud.

The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Charged Makanjuola, Alongside Melrose General Services Ltd., And Obiorah Aminu, On 11-Count Fraud, Charges Bothering On Fraud. Also Charged Is One Robert Chidozie Who Is Said To Be “At Large”. They All Pleaded Not Guilty To The Charges.

Defense Counsel, Paul Erekoro (SAN), Had Argued The Bail Application On Behalf Of The Accused. He Urged The Court To Admit The Accused To Bail On Liberal Terms, Adding That He Will Be Available To Stand Trial. Other Defence Counsel Also Aligned Themselves With The Application For Bail. The Court Had Adjourned The Case For Ruling.

 

Delivering His Ruling On Tuesday, Justice Babs Kuewumi Held That As A Matter Of Law, The Court Possessed Discretion In Granting Bail, Which Must Be Exercised Judicially And Judiciously.

Reading Out The 10 Factors Militating Against Granting Of Bail, The Court Held That The Ability Of The Accused To Stand Trial Is Paramount, Adding That An Accused Is Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty. The Court Held That Bail Is Not Meant To Serve As A Punishment But To Enable The Accused Appear And Stand Trial.

He Said: “On The Whole, I Have Not Been Shown Any Proof That The Accused Will Not Stand Trial To Warrant Refusing Bail. The Accused Are Hereby Granted Bail In The Sum Of N250 Million Each, With Two Sureties Each In Like Sum.”

 

The Court Held That The Sureties Must Be Owners Of Landed Properties Within The Lagos Metropolis. In Addition, The Court Held That The Sureties Must Deposit Four Recent Passport Photographs With The Court’s Registrar, And Also Submit A Letter Of Identification. The Case Was Adjourned Until December 4 For Trial.

In The Charge, The Accused Were Alleged To Have Committed The Offence In December 2016. They Were Said To Have Conspired To Disguise The Unlawful Origin Of The Sum Of N3.5 Billion Paid Into The Account Of Melrose General Services Ltd. According To The Prosecution, The Accused Took Control Of The Sum Which Was Transferred From The Nigeria’s Governors Forum’s Account, Operated By Melrose.

The Prosecution Said The Accused Ought To Have Known That The Sum Represented Proceeds Of Unlawful Activities. The Offences Contravenes The Provisions Of Sections 15, 15 (2), 15(3), 18, And 18 (A)  Of The Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act 2011.

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