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N8bn scam: Court dismisses bankers’bail applications

Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, on Monday ordered that the Central Bank of Nigeria and other bank staff, involved in the N8bn mutilated currency fraud, be remanded in prison
while also granting accelerated hearing of the case.

Those to be remanded in prison are Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola, Toogun Philips, Salami Ibrahim, Odiah Emmanuel, Patient Okoro, Afolabi Johnson, Ilori Sunday, Fatai Yusuf and Tade Akintade.

They were docked in three batches during the ruling.

Counsel for the accused persons however said they would appeal the ruling.

After their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission two weeks ago, their counsel filed applications for bail and supported the action with sworn affidavits.

Lead counsel for EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), however opposed all the applications through counter affidavits he submitted to the court.

While delivering ruling on the applications on Monday, Justice Emmanuel said he was not convinced by the submissions of counsel for the accused persons to admit the suspects to bail.

Justice Emmanuel said he considered a number of factors associated with granting bail, among them the possibility of the accused persons committing another offence, influencing or interfering with witnesses or the investigation officers, concealing or destroying evidence and their availability to stand trial if granted bail.

He said he had also considered the evidence against the suspects, the nature and gravity of their offences, their criminal antecedents, the possibility of other charges being brought against them, their intentions and ability to present medical report pending the final dismissal of the case.

He added, “I have considered the evidence before the court; the offences are mind-boggling and weighty. I have not been persuaded by the submission before me to think otherwise. Evidences before me point to a new wave of economic crime.

“I must state that the court does not have the power to detain an accused person beyond constitutional limit.

The discretion to grant bail resides with the court but
such discretion must also be judiciously applied.

“The alleged crimes have adverse effect on the economy of the nation and the offence carries a maximum of 21 years in prison. It is a capital offence against the economy of this country.”

The judge stated, “It is a common knowledge that the first, second and third accused (Babalola, Adeola and Phillips) are answering other criminal charges in suits before me.

“In view of evidences before me, I have not been persuaded or convinced by the sworn affidavits tendered by the accused persons that if granted bail, they will not interfere with court processes.

“In concluding, the accused persons have not persuaded me to exercise my discretion to admit them to bail. The bail application is hereby dismissed and I grant the order of accelerated hearing. This court will not tolerate frivolous applications.”

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Posted By BOBRICKY On 09:11 Mon, 15 Jun 2015

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