Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Thursday granted bail to three former executives of the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), accused of defrauding the association of N20.1 million.
Justice Dada in a ruling granted former chairmen – Adesina Ogunlana, Yinka Farounbi (first and second defendants) and former treasurer Aderinola Kappo (third defendant) bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties in like sum.
She held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to provide proof that the defendants, especially the first defendant (Ogunlana) tampered with prosecution witnesses.
She also noted that the anti-graft agency did not provide proof that the defendants jumped administrative bail or that the third defendant (Kappo) provided a fake address to the EFCC.
She said: “The allegation that the three defendants jumped administrative bail was not proven; although the first and third defendants said they were not around on the last Friday they were supposed to appear before the EFCC.
“They, however, presented themselves the next Monday for arraignment, despite not being served by the EFCC.
“There is no evidence that shows that the EFCC investigated the claims of the third defendant that she was in a hospital in Badagry on that Friday.
“The EFCC also failed to produce the second defendant (Farounbi) in court for arraignment, despite being in EFCC custody up until then.
“Failure to appear on the last Friday should not be sufficient reason to deny them bail but they will not be granted bail on self-recognition.
“The defendants are granted bail in the sum of N500, 000 and two sureties in like sum, one of whom must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
“The defendants shall remain on temporary bail, pending the perfection of their bail within two weeks, failure of which they will be remanded in prison”.
Following the ruling, Dada adjourned the case until July 3, 9 and 10 for the commencement of trial.
The trio were jointly charged by the EFCC on 15-count charge bothering on Stealing.
The former NBA Ikeja Branch officers were accused by the EFCC of conniving and stealing N20.1 million, belonging to the body of lawyers.
By Babatunde Alao…
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