By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Justice Adeyinka Faji of the Federal High Court Ibadan has refused the bail applications for ten bank officials who allegedly defrauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of over eight billion naira and granted bail applications for five other accused persons.
The trial judge dismissed the bail applications at the weekend and granted accelerated hearing for all the three batches of the case before the court.
He adjourned hearing of charge number FHC/Ib/31c/15 to 1st of July 2015. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC on the invitation of the CBN had charged all the accused persons to court due to the roles they allegedly played in defrauding the apex bank over eight billion naira mutilated money meant to be destroyed between 2010 and 2014.
The accused bankers the trial judge dismissed their bail applications included Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philips,(CBN staff), Isaq Akano (a.k.a Isiaka), Ayodele Festus Adeyemi, Oyebanji Akeem, Ayodeji Alatishe Ajiwe Sunday Adegoke (First Bank Staff), Oni Adekola Dolapo and Afolabi Esther Olunike (Wema Bank staff ).
The accused bankers granted bail by Justice Faji included Ademola Balogun, Kehinde Fatokun, Olukunle Sijuade, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide.
Justice Faji stated that Sections 161, 162 and 163 of the Nigeria’s constitution gave the court discretional powers to admit an accused person that committed certain degrees of crimes to bail.
He noted that the penalty for the crimes the accused persons had committed is a maximum of 21 years and a minimum of seven years, according to the constitution.
The trial judge noted that the evidence against the ten accused bankers are so weighty and it centered on the economy of the country.
Justice Faji held that the allegation before the court is that the accused bankers from the First Bank in collaboration with the CBN accused bankers looted the sum of N773 million from 107 boxes that supposed to contain one billion seventy million naira mutilated N1,000 notes, while another boxes that supposed to contain N10 million of N1000 was filled with newspapers among others.
Apart from this, according to him, all the ten accused persons had money in different bank accounts, series of properties, including houses, petrol stations landed property, among others that are beyond their salary. He declared that the court should not treat the accused bankers in this category with gloves hand.
On the five accused bankers granted bail, the judge noted that he decided to admit them to bail because their involvement were not much visible.
The EFCC had not traced any property or money to their accounts. Justice Faji granted them bail in the sum of N20million with two sureties each in the like sum, the sureties must have property within the jurisdiction and deposit the document of same with the court and must have evidence of three years payment of tax, among others.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the suit number FHB/IB/ 32C/15 to 25th and26th of September; Suit Number FHB/IB/33C/15 to 10th of July; and suit number FHB/IB/34C/15 to 26th of June for accelerated hearing.