5 Bank Chiefs Get Bail

Source: burningpot.com
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By Adelanwa Bamgboye, Lagos
Reprieve came for the sacked bank chiefs yesterday when the Federal High Court in Lagos admitted Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and five others standing trial before it to bail, but it prohibited them from travelling outside the country.

Presiding judge Justice Dan Abutu granted each of the five former bank chiefs bail in the sum of N100 Million and ordered each one of them to produce reasonable sureties to perfect the bail condition.

Those admitted to bail yesterday were former Group Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, ex-CEO of Union Bank Bartholomew Bassey Ebong and his co-accused, Henry Onyemem.

The others were Mr. Niyi Albert Opeodu of Union Bank, former Group Managing Director of Afribank Plc Sebastine Adigwe and Mr. Peter Ololo, Managing Director of Falcon Securities Limited.

Although some of the accused persons have been in detention since August 22, they were all arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on August 31 for alleged financial crimes running into billions of naira. All the accused persons, who are facing separate charges, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

According to Justice Abutu, the object of bail bonds is to secure the attendance of the accused persons to face their trial. Referring to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic, Abutu said what is crucial for every applicant for bail is for the condition to be imposed so that the accused does not fail to attend trial, adding that the bail conditions must be reasonable and necessary to ensure that the accused attends trial.

The judge also ordered that each of the accused persons shall report to the officers who investigated their cases at the Headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abuja on the first working day of every month pending the conclusion of their trial. The accused persons were further prohibited from travelling out of Nigeria while their cases are still on.

Justice Dan Abutu said each of the sureties must be a Nigerian resident in Lagos or Abuja and must either be a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or a serving member of the House of Representatives.

He said further that the surety must be a Chairman of a Board of a reputable financial institution in Nigeria with offices in Lagos /Abuja or a Chairman of the Board of an Oil company.

He said the value of the total assets of the financial institution as declared in the company Annual Report for 2008 must not be below =N=1 Billion. The court said the surety may also be a reputable former Senator of the Federal Republic with landed property in Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island, in Lagos, Asokoro, Garki or Maitama in Abuja. A Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly in any State of the Federation with landed property in Ikoyi, Lekki, Victoria Island, in Lagos, Asokoro, Garki or Maitama in Abuja may also stand as surety.

Trial has been fixed for September 24, 25 and 26, 2009.

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