N15B Fraud: Court Threatens To Revoke Ex Transcorp Executives' Bail

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 25, (THEWILL) – A Federal High Court in Abuja has threatened to revoke a bail earlier granted three ex-officials of Transnational Corporation, Transcorp Plc, who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a thirty-two count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds totalling N15 billion.

Justice Donatus Okorowa warned that the original bail granted the accused persons may be revoked should they continue to present frivolous applications in order to delay trial. He also warned that he would not hesitate to remand the accused persons in prison custody from where they would be attending all court proceedings.

The three officials are Thomas Iseghohi, ex- Group Managing Director; Muhammad Buba, ex-Company Secretary and Mike Okoli, ex-Deputy General Manager. At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, January 24, 2011, the three accused persons through their counsel, R. O Yusuf, filed a consolidated application before the court, praying that the charges against them be quashed on the ground that the suit instituted by the EFCC did not establish a prima-facie case against them.

However, EFCC prosecution counsel, Audu Nunghe, while opposing the application, expressed disappointment with the attitude of the accused persons and told the court that the prosecution was ready to go on with the trial. Nunghe further said that the prosecution was ready with the case as there are already three prosecution witnesses in court to testify in the suit. After listening to the submissions of both the defence and prosecution counsel, Justice Okorowa adjourned the case till February 9, 2011, for ruling on the application. He also reiterated his warning to the accused persons to desist from delay tactics, as the case has suffered needless setbacks since they were arraigned about two years ago.

The three accused persons were arraigned on Wednesday May 27, 2009. Before the case was transferred to Justice Okorowa, they had been granted bail on June 22, 2009, by Justice Anuli Chikere who was the initial presiding Judge. The terms of the bail include: A bond of N500 million each, accused persons were asked to produce surety in like sum, sureties must be civil servants with either a federal ministry, or parastatal and must produce evidence of appointment, sureties must also be owners of landed property in Abuja with evidence of ownership from Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), sureties must show evidence of tax clearance for three years from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), while each of the accused must deposit his international passport in the court registry.