Court grants Jonathan’s cousin N1bn bail

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.

Originally posted 2016-06-09 05:37:57.

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