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Daniel Gets Stringent Bail

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ABEOKUTA, October 14, (THEWILL) - Justice Olarenwaju Mabekoje of the Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta, Friday admitted former Governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel to bail in the suit filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Daniel is facing 16 counts bordering on stealing, conversion of state funds and assets to his personal use and abuse of office.

His lead counsel, Professor Taiwo Osipitan SAN had filed an application for bail supported with a 25-paragraph affidavit praying the court to admit the former state governor to bail.

Osipitan submitted that Daniel would not jump bail if admitted as has travelled abroad severally and returned voluntarily since he left office on May 29, 2011.

".....Also, applicant was billed to travel out of the country on or about 3rd of Oct, 2011 but declined to do so when he was hinted about the possibility of his arrest."

He submitted that "Section (36)5 of the Constitution of Nigeria presumes the applicant to be innocent until proved guilty", saying, “his alleged offence is bailable in the eyes of the law”, adding that the EFCC had informed Daniel that he could get bail.

But opposing Osipitan’s position, EFCC’s lead counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs said it is the judge’s discretion to grant bail adding, "If EFCC grants bail it is the discretion of the judge to look into the bail process."

After hours of recess, in his rulings, the Justice Mabekoje admitted Daniel to bail in the sum of N500 million naira (Five hundred million naira) and two sureties in like sum. The sureties must also have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court. The titles of the properties and two passport photographs of the sureties must be submitted to the registrar of the court.

Daniel was also ordered to submit his travel passport to the EFCC.

Further hearing in the matter has been slated for November 17, 2011.