Reprieve came the way of Dr. Olu Agunloye, former Minister of Power and Steel Development on Thursday, after a night at Kuje Correctional Center as a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) high court in Apo on Thursday granted him temporary freedom till the final determination of his case. Dr. Agunloye was granted bail in the sum
Reprieve came the way of Dr. Olu Agunloye, former Minister of Power and Steel Development on Thursday, after a night at Kuje Correctional Center as a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) high court in Apo on Thursday granted him temporary freedom till the final determination of his case.
Dr. Agunloye was granted bail in the sum of N50 million. He was arraigned on seven-count charges, bordering on fraudulent award of a contract and official corruption, on Wednesday over a $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract.
The judge, Justice J.O.Onwuegbuzie, had ordered his remand in Kuje Correctional Centre on Wednesday, pending hearing and ruling on the bail application.
Moving the bail application on Thursday, counsel to the defendant , Mr. Adeola Adedipe, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) prayed the court to grant bail to his client “by way of self-recognisance or in liberal terms”.
He said Dr. Agunloye is not a flight risk and that the notion canvassed by the prosecution was “borne out of misconception and communication barrier”. Mr. Adedipe also appealed to the court not to order the use of a public servant as surety for his client.
He also drew the attention of the court to a Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA) in Dasuki v DG SSS (2020) Part 1731 NWLR, in which the court found such conduct to be “unknown to our laws”; especially because “corruption is encouraged that way”.
Mr. Adedipe further argued that the apprehensive misconception about bail and its mischief stressing that prosecution has been solved by Section 352( 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
According to him, under this provision: “Once a defendant is admitted to bail, even if he absconds, trial will continue and he will be convicted where necessary”.
However the prosecution counsel Mr. Abba Muhammed opposed the bail application.
Delivering ruling, Justice Onwuegbuzie said the pendulum of the court swings in favour of granting bail to the defendant. He granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N50 million and ordered him to produce two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, according to the court ,must be “reputable” and “people of means” resident within the FCT.
They must have properties worth N300 million with a Certificate of Occupancy(CoO) that must be verifiable.
In addition, they must submit copies of their identity cards and photocopies of their international passports to the court.
The defendant is to submit his international passport to the court and must be present for hearing at all times.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to 12 February for hearing.