Human Rights

Court grants ex-Governor’s aide N300m bail

A Kwara state High Court sitting in Ilorin on Thursday granted former Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals MDGs to the immediate past governor of the state, Ope Saraki N300 million bail with two sureties.

Saraki was dragged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC over alleged N220 million frauds.

The former adviser to the immediate past Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, was arraigned on a-two count charge of corrupt practices and other related offences Act 2000.

The counts read “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in 2012 whilst being the Special Adviser to the Governor of Kwara State on MDG, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, knowingly acquired indirectly a private interest in contract worth N171.99, 000.00 awarded to Chemiroy Nigeria Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of Ambulances for 13 general/specialist hospitals in Kwara state, contract connected to

your office contrary to section 12 of the corrupt practices and other

related offences Act 2000, and punishable under the same law.

“That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in 2012 whilst being the Special

Adviser to the Kwara State on MDG, within the jurisdiction of this

honourable court, knowingly acquired indirectly a private interest in contract worth N49.349.827.00 awarded to MC Drive Logistics and

Institute Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of 100 KVA Generators

for 13 general/specialist hospitals in Kwara, contract connected to

your office contrary to section 12 of the corrupt practices and other

related offences Act 2000, and punishable under the same law.”

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

EFCC counsel, Sesan Ola urged the court to remand Saraki in prison custody, arguing that “in view of the defendant’s plea, we apply for a date for trial and urge the court to remand him in prison custody pending the determination of the case.”

But, the lead counsel to the defendant, Joshua Olatoki (SAN) opposed the prosecution’s application, praying the court to grant his client bail pending the trial.

“As senior counsel speaking from the bar, I submit that the two count charges are the same material particular before a Federal

High Court. Trial has commenced before the Federal High Court, Ilorin

in 2015. The defendant is on bail by self-recognisance; that what led

to this case started in 2013 and the EFCC had granted him

administrative bail from then till yesterday. It is time for the court

not to allow its integrity to be rubbished by any party.

“Having been granted bail, I submit that he has not misused the

opportunity. I urge my lord to grant him bail in this charge. His

international passport is in the possession of the EFCC, so he has not where to run to. He has reliable sureties within the jurisdiction of

this court. This is a matter that is ordinarily bailable and court has

the discretion to grant bail without any formal application.

“I also urge my lord to grant him bail on liberal terms.

Alternatively, if he is to be remanded, I suggest he be remanded in EFCC’s custody.

The EFCC counsel said “this is a court of record. The

appropriate thing to do is for the parties to file proper application.

On this note I urge the court to discountenance the evidence of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”

In her ruling, Presiding Justice, Adenike Akinpelu granted the defendant bail in the sum of N300 million and two sureties pending the formal application for his bail.

She added that the defendant’s international passport should remain in possession of the EFCC and adjourned the case to April 16th for hearing of the bail application and trial.

Source: Voice of Nigeria