The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned three bank staff, two civil servants and two companies before Justice Patrick Afen of the FCT High Court, Abuja on a three-count charge of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery of public sector accounts and obtaining under false pretence to the tune of N25.4 Million.
The accused persons, who allegedly defrauded one Juliet Uzor, are Napoleon Obaje Adofu, the branch manager of Oceanic Bank in Karu; Augustine Odinawor, branch manager of Fidelity Bank in Gwagwalada; Patrick Onyekachi, staff of Equatorial Trust Bank in Abuja; Reuben Omotayo, Staff of Federal Capital Development Authority and Abdulmalik Isa Teina, staff of Abuja Geographic Information System, (AGIS).
They were arraigned alongside two companies: Yombor Ventures Limited and Aicoor Tao Nigeria Limited.
All accused persons pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge.
Defence counsel, Oluwafemi Adetusi, asked the court to grant his clients bail.
He also asked the court to take into consideration the constitutional right of the accused persons based on the fact that they are still presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“My Lord, with this application, we are relying on the provisions of Section 35 (1) and Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and also we base it on the jurisdiction of this court. We urge the court to grant our prayers by granting the accused persons bail. We also pray that the conditions will be on the most liberal term”, he said.
However, Salisu Majidadi, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that he was only handed the bail application by the counsel to the second accused person in court and would need time to respond to the application.
The judge, Mr. Afen, thereafter, told all defense counsel that he cannot consider oral bail applications for the accused persons. In respect to the second accused person who had filed a formal application, Justice Afen said the prosecution by law has a forty eight hour window to respond to it.
After listening to arguments on both sides, the judge ruled that applications for bail must be formal and would be ruled upon on Thursday May 17th, 2012