Alleged N20m Fraud: Former Ikeja NBA Chairmen, Treasurer Get Bail
The Lagos State Special Offences Court has granted bail to two past chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch, Adesina Ogunlana and Yinka Farounbi, accused of stealing N20.1 million from the Association.
On the 22nd of May, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had arraigned the two alongside another of their colleague, a former treasurer of the branch, Aderinola Kappo, on a 30-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
They had all pleaded not guilty and despite the request of the EFCC that they be remanded in prison custody pending their trial, Justice Mojisola Dada ordered their release upon the presentation of their international passports.
She adjourned till today to hear their formal bail applications.
At the proceedings today, Justice Mojisola Dada granted the three lawyers bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties each in like sum.
The court held that one of the sureties for each defendant must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The 3 defendants have two weeks within which to perfect their bail, failing which they will be remanded in prison.
After the ruling, Justice Dada adjourned the case until July 3 for commencement of trial.
In arriving at her ruling on bail, Justice Dada held that the EFCC failed to provide proof that the defendants, especially the first defendant (Ogunlana) tampered with prosecution witnesses.
The judge further stated that the anti-graft agency did not provide proof that the defendants jumped administrative bail or that the third defendant (Kappo) provided a fake address to the EFCC.
THe court observed, The allegation that the three defendants jumped administrative bail was not proven; although the first and third defendants said they were not around on the last Friday they were supposed to appear before the EFCC.
They, however, presented themselves the next Monday for arraignment, despite not being served by the EFCC.
There is no evidence that shows that the EFCC investigated the claims of the third defendant that she was in a hospital in Badagry on that Friday.
The EFCC also failed to produce the second defendant (Farounbi) in court for arraignment, despite being in EFCC custody up until then.
Failure to appear on the last Friday should not be sufficient reason to deny them bail but they will not be granted bail on self-recognizance.