Federal High Court, Ibadan in Oyo State has refused the bail applications of the six Central Bank of Nigeria officials, CBN and other persons accused of defrauding the apex bank of over N8 billion .
Justice Ayo Emmanuel who dismissed the accused applications for bail described their actions as “a new dimension in economic crimes in Nigeria.”
The accused were arraigned before the court for fraud, conspiracy, concealment and illegal acquisition of property among others by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC. They were docked in three batches.
The first batch includes Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Olufemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf. They were arraigned on a five-count charge.
The second batch comprising Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Togun Kayode Philips, Salami Ibraheem (Sterling Bank) and Oddia Emmanuel (Sterling Bank) were arraigned on 11-count charges while the third batch which includes Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Togun Kayode Philips and Tope Akintade (Eco Bank) are on trial on a 15-count charge of false entry of N490 million cash deposited by Eco Bank at the CBN as N79.7million of N1000 mutilated notes between 2010 and 2014.
Justice Emmanuel in the ruling declared that sections 35 and 36 of the constitution of Nigeria and section 162 of the newly enacted criminal laws gave him the discretion to admit the accused persons to bail but the accused in their proof of evidence must put credible evidence before the court.
The trial judge noted that the allegations against the accused persons are mind-boggling to the extent that a reasonable judge can never gloss over it.
Justice Emmanuel emphasised that the submissions of the counsel to the accused persons that they did not jump bail when the EFCC gave them administrative bail cannot hold water because the commission cannot detain suspects more than the specific period.
The trial judge noted that the offence which the accused persons allegedly committed is a new way in economic crimes which have serious implications on the country.
He said: “I am not persuaded with the submission of the counsel to all the accused persons that they deserved to be admitted to bail. Laws must always be used for society engineering and if this should be so, the court must feel the pulse of the society in discharging her discretions.”
Justice Emmanuel therefore dismissed all the bail applications and instead granted them accelerated hearing.
He adjourned the hearing of the substantive suits to 6th and 7th of July 2015.
But counsel to the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, told journalists that there shouldn’t be room for parity of judgement in the administration of justice in the country.
Ojo noted that, “we have cases of former governors, banks chiefs especially during the era of former governor of the CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi before courts who were granted bails pending trial.”
He noted that the families of the accused persons had instructed them to appeal against Justice Emmanuel’s ruling.
The first count charge of FHC/IB/26c/2015 read that: “You Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Oluyemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf on or about 5th of August, 2014 in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, have by abuse of office, being employees of Central Bank of Nigeria, contributed to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when you destroyed a box marked “Counted Audited Dirty” filled with newspapers in place of a box containing N10 million of N1,000denomination and which activity led to the increase of money in circulation which the briquetting exercise of CBN which contravenes the constitution of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1(2)(B) and section 10(1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision Act) Cap R4 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 among others.


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