A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday admitted former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Mr. Azibaola Roberts and his wife, Stella, to bail in the sum of N500 million each.
The court’s action came a day after Roberts, who had spent 80 days in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was arraigned in court. The court had on Tuesday remanded him in Kuje Prison, Abuja.
The accused are being prosecuted over alleged payment of $40 million into their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
Delivering a ruling on the bail applications filed by the defendants’ lawyers, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) and Gordy Uche (SAN), the court held that there was no material evidence before the court that the Roberts and his wife would jump bail or frustrate their trial.
The trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, held that the “Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, enjoins that the bail conditions shall not be excessive.
“All things considered, I grant the defendants bail on the following terms: the defendants are admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million each, two sureties in like sum which shall in turn enter a bail bond of the sum of N500 million, the sureties must each be an owner of property in Asokoro or Maitama District of Abuja,” the judge held.
The court further ruled that the best atmosphere under which the defendants could actually prepare for their defence must be devoid of fear.
“This atmosphere, I believe, will be difficult if not possible to be attained while under incarceration,” Justice Dimgba said.
He also said the defendants will remain in prison custody till their bail conditions are met.
The suit was adjourned till June 28, July 4 and 5 for hearing.
After taking their not guilty plea on Tuesday on a seven-count charge, Justice Dimgba remanded Mr. Roberts who is the 1st defendant in the suit in Kuje Prison till yesterday (Wednesday) pending the determination of their bail applications, while the court admitted Mrs. Roberts (2nd defendant) to the administrative bail earlier granted by the EFCC.
This bail application which was brought pursuant to Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution and Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Roberts’ lawyer prayed the court to admit his client to bail in view of the “pains” Mr. Roberts had suffered in the custody of the EFCC despite a valid court order admitting him to bail.