The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned Dr Ademola Idowo, former Executive Director, National Horticultural Research Institutes (NIHORT), Ibadan, over alleged theft of N123.5 million.

Also charged alongside Idowo at an Oyo State High Court is Isaiah Ajisafe, former Head of Finance and Account of the institute.

They are facing a 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing.

EFCC’s Counsel, Mr Kayode Oni, told the court that the defendants conspired and fraudulently obtained N158 million belonging to NIHORT from Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank (formerly BankPHB) between May 2007 and January 2008.

Oni said the defendants abused their offices by splitting one contract into three.

The defendants awarded the split contract to Onikirp Nigeria Ltd in three tranches of N49,913,083, N19,860,509 and N48,554,271 totally N123.5 million above their approved limits.

The offences contravened Sections 390 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Counsel to the defendants, Mr Gbonajo Badejo, (SAN), urged the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.

Badejo said the 1st defendant was “ill’’ and that he came to court from from hospital.

“The EFCC is aware of his ill-health. He should be granted bail on self-recognition.’’

Badejo said the 2nd defendant was also not healthy as he was on herbal medication.

He urged the court to also grant him bail on liberal terms.

In his response, Oni, who did not oppose the bail application, informed the court that he was aware of the health condition of only the 1st defendant.

He urged the court to make the doctor treating the 1st defendant the surety, while his passport should be submitted to the court.

In his ruling, Justice Muktar Abimbola, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N10 million each with one surety each in like terms.

Abimbola said his doctor should be the surety and should also swear to an affidavit and submit two passport photographs.

He adjourned the case till Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 for hearing.


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