N179.8m fraud: Court grants bail to PDP deputy chairman, 2 INEC officials

A Federal High Court, in Lagos, Tuesday, August 7 granted bail to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Deputy National Chairman, (South)  Yemi Akinwonmi and two senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N179.8 million fraud. 

The court presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor, admitted the defendants: Yemi Akinwonmi, Dickson Atiba and Ogunmodede Oladayo  to bail in the sum of N50 million each with one surety in like sum.

However, consequent upon an undertaken by their lawyer, Chief Edward Ayo-Odugbesan, to stand as surety for the defendants, Justice Obiozor temporarily released the defendants to their lawyer and mandated the defendants to perfect the bail conditions within a week or risk being sent back to prison.

Judge also directed the Odugbesan to produce the original copy of his call to Bar Certificate. 

He was also mandated to give a written undertaken that the defendants will be available for trial. 

The lawyer was also ordered to sworn to an affidavit of means and also furnish the court with his valid statement of account. 

The surety and each of the defendants were also requested to supply two recent passport photographs to the court.

The judge equally mandated the Court’s Chief Registrar to ensure that all documents to be provided by the lawyer were properly verified. 

Trial of the three accused persons is expected to commence after the court’s long vacation.

It would be recalled that the three accused who are from Ogun State INEC office had earlier been arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan on an eight count-charge bordering on conspiracy, by befitting from proceeds of crime, receiving various cash sums without going through financial institutions and accepting various cash sums exceeding amount authorized by the law.

The three accused persons were said to have received the said money from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Stanbic/IBTC, Diamond Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Skye Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, sometimes in March 2015, during General Election

The offences according to the prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo are contrary to section 18 (a), 15(2)(d), 16 (d) 1(a), 16 (1) (d), and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as Amended and punishable under 15 (3)(4) and 16 (2)(b)  of the same Act. 

The accused had however pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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