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Leadership Journalists Granted Bail As Court Adjourns Hearing Till July 16

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, (THEWILL) – The two Leadership journalists - Group News Editor Tony Amokeodo and Political reporter Chibuzo Ukaibe - re-arraigned by the Federal Government before an Abuja High Court on an 11-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery have been granted bail.

The two journalists were granted bail on Thursday by the trial judge, Justice A. Musale, in the sum of N500,000 each with one surety each in like sum, after pleading not guilty to the charge.

The court consequently adjourned the case to July 16 for hearing.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), had earlier told the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with the trial since the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He further prayed the court to remand the accused in prison custody pending the next adjourned date.

But the counsel to the journalists, Femi Falana (SAN), brought a bail application praying the court to admit the accused persons to bail, basing his application on the ground that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had earlier struck out the charge against the accused and that all the time the accused were standing trial before the court, they were always present in court.

He added that the court also admitted them to bail and they did not jump bail.

In his response, Awomolo conceded to the fact that the Federal High Court admitted the accused to bail and they didn’t jumped bail all through.

He added that going by their antecedent, he believed that they would not jump bail. He therefore was not opposed to the bail application.

In his ruling, Justice Musale held that "The bail application has not been opposed by the prosecution and therefore is granted. The prosecution also said they have concluded investigation. Therefore, the accused persons have nothing to tamper with. I therefore grant them bail in the sum of N500,000 each with one surety who must be a responsible person. This matter is adjourned to July 16, 2013 for hearing."

Part of the 11 count charge reads:
*That you TONY AGBOOLA AMOKEODO, CHIBUZOR UKAIBE, LEADERSHIP GROUP LIMITED, all of 27 Ibrahim Tahir Lane, Utako, Abuja, on or about the 3rd day of April, 2013 at Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: forged a document titled 'Presidential Directive' having on it the Seal of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria published on the front page of Leadership Newspaper of 3rd day of April, 2013,intended by you to be understood to be the seal of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the intent of the document purported it to be the directive of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federal Capital

Territory, Abuja.
*That you TONY AGBOOLA AMOKEODO, CHIBUZOR UKAIBE, LEADERSHIP GROUP LIMITED, all of 27 Ibrahim Tahir Lane, Utako, Abuja, on or about the 3rd day of April, 2013 at Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this honourable court did commit an offence to wit: forged a document titled 'Presidential Directive' having on it the Seal of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria published on the front page of Leadership Newspaper of 3rd day of April, 2013, intended by you to be understood to be the seal of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the intent of the document purported it to be that, made by the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 365 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

* That you TONY AGBOOLA AMOKEODO, CHIBUZOR UKAIBE, LEADERSHIP GROUP LIMITED, all of 27 Ibrahim Tahir Lane, Utako, Abuja, on or about the 3rd day of April, 2013 at Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory under the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: making a false document titled PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE on a letter head purporting same to be a document made from the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and published same on the front page of LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPER of 3rd day of April, 2013, knowing it to be false and with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of the President and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.