The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned, AVM Rufus Ojuawo, in an FCT High Court, Apo, for collecting N40 million gift and a Range Rover sports car from Hima Abubakar.
Mr. Ojuawo, a former Director of Operations, Nigerian Air Force, was arraigned before Justice Mahawiya Idris on a two-count charge.
The charge says Mr. Ojuawo while in office in March, 2015, accepted a gift in the aggregate sum of N40 million from Abubakar of Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nig. Ltd.
It stated that the defendant also received a Range Rover Sports Supercharged car valued at N29, 250, 000 from Mr. Abubakar, who was a contractor with the Nigerian Airforce through Coscharis Motors Ltd.
The offence contravenes Section 17(a) of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 17(c) of the same Act.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
EFCC counsel Francis Jirbo applied for a date to open his case, and urged the court to remand Mr. Ojuawo in prison custody.
But Defence counsel, Ralph Ojabo, opposed the application, saying that he had an application for bail dated June 3 pending in the court.
Mr. Jirbo objected to Ojabo’s motion, saying that no date had been fixed for the hearing.
Mr. Ojabo however reminded the court that the applicable law in criminal proceedings was the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA)
He moved his motion, supported by a 28 paragraph affidavit, and urged the court to grant bail on liberal terms
According to him, the defendant is a serving General of the Nigerian Air Force and
will diligently attend trial.
Mr. Jirbo opposed the bail citing the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment if convicted as reasons.
He also cited availability for trial, health of the defendant and if the nature of the evidence points directly to the defendant as other reasons.
He further said with the proof of evidence against the defendant he had a high propensity to jump bail.
According to him, the offence against him is rampant and if granted bail will encourage others.
He said the affidavit did not contain any material for the court to exercise its discretion to his favour, and urged the court to refuse bail as a criteria and not as a punishment.
In his ruling, the judge Justice Idris said that denial of bail could not be used to punish the defendant before his trial.
He admitted him to bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety that must be a civil servant not below the rank of Assistant Director.
The judge said the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction, and adjourned the case till Sept. 15 for trial. (NAN)