N25BN: COURT TO RULE ON BAIL APPLICATION TODAY
Justice Mashood Abass of the Oyo State High Court 12, yesterday reserved ruling on the bail applications brought by former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala , Senator Hosea Agboola and Chief Olufemi Babalola till 12noon today.
The three are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, awarding contract without budget provision, obtaining contract by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal act, as well as concealing the genuine nature of the ownership of property.
Justice Abass at yesterday's sitting also warned all those who might want to influence him to tilt the course of justice in their favour to be very careful, saying 'Let me warn everybody concerned in this matter that nobody can influence me. I have my name and integrity to protect. Enough is enough. When I say enough is enough, I know what I'm saying. Those who are concerned know themselves.'
He said he would order the immediate arrest of any of the parties, who attempt to influence his ruling on the matter.
Earlier, counsel to the accused persons, Mamman Osuman (SAN) had brought bail application on behalf of his clients, asking the court to grant them bail, especially the first accused person (Akala) on the grounds of ill-health, self recognition among others, since the court had the legal capacity to do so.
While moving the bail application, Osuman argued that Section 19 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud Related Offences and Section 39(4b) of the ICPC Act give the court the legal backing to admit the accused persons to bail.
He further stressed that Akala is having a deteriorating health which requires constant medical attention from his medical doctor, while displaying a medical certificate marked exhibit AK1 to back his claim.
On Agboola, Osuman said the second accused person as a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be granted bail on self recognition and his status, arguing further that since the three accused persons, voluntarily submitted themselves to the EFCC for prosecution, their bail applications should be given favourable consideration.
But, Chief Godwin Obla, counsel to the EFCC opposed the bail application with counter-affidavits and written address, which were deposed to by Olayinka Bolanle. In the counter-affidavits, Obla argued that the accused persons should not be granted bail because they might have been investigated in related to the Code of Conduct offences and that they might frustrate the investigations if they were admitted to bail.
Obla further told the court that Akala and others had not provided enough materials to enable the court to exercise its discretion in favour of their bail applications and thereby, urged the court to dismiss the applications. After arguments from both counsel which lasted till about 4.00p.m, Justice Abass adjourned ruling on the bail application till 12 noon today (Thursday), while also ordering that Akala and the two others be remanded in the custody of the State Security Services (SSS) at Aleshinloye, Ibadan.
Shortly after the court session, some youths numbering about 50 gathered at Ring-Road roundabout, opposite the entrance of the court to protest against the former governor. Unlike Tuesday when Akala's supporters stormed the court in a carnival like situation, where they danced to the rhythm of praise-songs about their mentor the situation was different yesterday as they were all sober. As usual in attendance at the trial yesterday were some of his commissioners, former local government chairmen, special advisers and assistants, chairmen of boards and parastatals and other political appointees.