FORMER speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Usman Nafada, who are standing trial over an alleged N40 billion scam, were, on Thursday, admitted to bail by an
Abuja High Court in the sum of N50 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.
The trial judge, Justice Suleiman Belgore, added that such surety must be a civil servant, who must not be below the rank of a permanent secretary and works in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He ordered that the travelling documents of the accused be kept with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and fixed July 19 for trial.
Counsel for the accused, Sola Oyetibo, who held the brief for Adegboyega Awomolo, prayed the court to vary the bail condition, by substituting the rank of permanent secretary with a senior civil servant, so that it would be easier for them to meet.
But the trial judge insisted that his ruling had been delivered and could not be changed.
In arriving at the ruling, which lasted for about 45 minutes, Justice Belgore said, “I have carefully and meticulously read the motion paper and consider argument of the counsel. The application is not complex, it is simple. The issue is whether the two applicants are entitled to bail.
“The ill health of an accused is not a ground to grant bail, illness does not entitle an accused to bail. A mere allegation of ill health is not a sufficient ground to grant bail, the accused most provide the medical proof to convince the court.”
But the prosecuting counsel, Festus Keyamo, opposed the application on the ground that the affidavit brought by the defence did not place sufficient material before the court as to warrant the granting of bail.
At the time of filing this report, the accused had been taken back to the EFCC custody, while their legal team was still making arrangement on how to meet the bail condition.