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BAYELSA AG, TWO OTHERS GRANTED BAIL

By NBF NEWS
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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday grated bail to Bayelsa State's Accountant-General, Francis Okokuro; the state's Director of Treasury in Government House, Abbot . Clinton; and the Director of Finance in the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, Ikobho Howells.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had arrested the officials three weeks ago and arraigned them before Justice Daniel Okonkwo on a six count charge of alleged stealing of about N2bn of the state funds.

But the accused persons had pleaded 'not guilty' to the charge against them.

In admitting them to bail, Justice Okorokwo held that the offences with which the accused were charged were ordinarily bailable.

The court also held that to deny the accused bail at that stage would amount to breaching the doctrine of presumption of innocence as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

But the suspects would have to fulfill some conditions before they are be allowed to go home.

The conditions include the deposit of N100m each in bail bond, and provide one surety each who must be an Assistant Director in a federal ministry, with ownership of a landed property in Abuja.

The accused persons and the sureties must deposit two passport photographs each as well as their passports.

Justice Okoronkwo ordered the court's Deputy Chief Registrar to verify the Certificates of Occupancy deposited by the sureties while the lawyers to the accused are to write a letter introducing the sureties to the judge.

The suspects were arraigned on Wednesday but their oral applications for bail were turned down while they were remanded in Kuje prison.