… Refuses 10 others’ bail application
A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan on Friday granted bail to five out of the 22 accused Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks’ staff facing trial over their alleged involvement in N8billion currency fraud.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Olayinka Faji of the Federal High Court two, Ibadan, in a two- hour ruling on bail applications filed by the counsel to the accused and counter applications by the counsel to the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), held that the cases against the accused were too weighty especially if the account balance and property allegedly acquired from the fraud are anything to go by.
They were all facing a 28-count charge ranging from conspiracy, abuse of office, stealing to false declaration of actual amount, concealing of property and fraudulently acquiring assets in excess of their legitimate and provable income.
The offence, as contained in a charge sheet read out to the accused persons is punishable under section 7(2) of the Bank Employees etc. (Declaration of Assets) Act, CAP. B1, Laws of the Federal Republic, Nigeria 2004.
Justice Faji agreed with the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) that the suspects are in possession of sums of money in excess of their legitimate earnings.
He pointed out that some of them have bank account balance running into several millions of naira which was a far cry from what they earn as staffers or contract staff they claimed to be.
He said notwithstanding that all the 15 accused persons had pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, they all have cases to answer.
By their individual and collective activities while the frauds were going on, the judge held that they had severally increased the value of money in circulation thereby committing economic crimes with its attendant rise in inflation.
He decided all the cases on merit of their applications, affidavits and counter affidavits pleaded before him.
The four cases expeditiously decided on Friday were FHC/IB/31c/2015 involving eight bankers, FHC/IB/32c/2015 involving six bankers, FHC/IB/33c/2015 comprising five bankers and FHC/IB/34c/2015 which also comprised five bankers.
The names of CBN staff are – Kolawole Babalola, Toogun Kayode Philips and Olaniran Muniru Adeola.
They all featured in all the four cases.
However, Justice Faji who ordered all the eight bankers in the first case remanded in Agodi prison having refused their bail application in view of the weighty nature and evidence before the court, granted the bail application of the 6th defendant in second case, Ademola Ebenezer Adewale.