500M Election Money: Court Grant Bail To Ondo PDP Chairman, Other

* lLogo source: Headline News Nigeria

 

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Muslim Hassan today granted bail to the Chairman of the Ondo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  Mr. Clement Faboyede and Mr .Modupe Adetokunbo, the  Director General of PDP Campaign Organization in Ondo State during the 2015 general election.

Faboyede’s co-accused, Modupe Adetokunbo were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N500 million fraud.

In his ruling on the two accused persons’ bail application on Thursday, Justice Hassan said he is in agreement with their lawyer’s submission that the offences upon which the duo were arraigned are bailable.

The judge listed factors to be considered in deciding the bail application to include the nature of the charge, the severity of the punishment and the likelihood of the repetition of the offence.

“The sole issue for determination is whether or not the defendants are entitled to bail pending trial bearing in mind that the essence of bail is to ensure the attendance of the defendants in court for their trial.

“The defendants were arraigned before this court on a 3-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering. According to the provisions of the Money Laundering Act, the punishment for the offence is a jail term not less than 2 years or an option of fine. I am in agreement with the defence lawyer that the alleged offence is bailable”, he said.

Justice Hassan also faulted the grounds upon which the prosecution is opposing the bail application.

The judge said: “The prosecution cannot oppose bail merely on routine procedure. There must be a cogent reason for opposing bail. The allegations against the defendants remains mere allegations until it is decided one way or the other by the court.

“In arriving at the decision whether to grant or refuse bail, it is my duty as a judicial officer to balance the interests of the state, defendants and that of the general public in coming to a judicious conclusion. In doing this, I am of the view that the judicious discretion in the circumstance of this case is to grant bail to the defendants applicants.

“More so, the defendants applicants were earlier granted bail by the prosecution prior to their arraignment and there was no evidence to show that they jumped the bail. Having regard to the foregoing, the defendants applicants application for bail succeeds and bail is hereby granted”.

The judge consequently admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N50 million with one surety each in like sum.

The sureties, according to the judge, must either be federal or state civil servants, not below the rank of level 15 or landed property owners within the court’s jurisdiction.

The sureties were directed to deposit the title documents of the property and two passport size photographs each at the Court’s Registry and same must be verified by the Department’s Head.

The defendants were also ordered to deposit their international passport at the Court’s Registry while the prosecution was given a week to authenticate the documents submitted by the sureties.

Shortly after the ruling, defence lawyer, Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) urged the court to release the defendants to him pending the time their bail conditions will be perfected.

He said: “In giving effect to the bail, I urge the court to consider allowing the applicants deposit their international passports immediately pending the satisfaction of the other bail conditions. I also on my honour as a senior counsel confirm that they will be around to meet the other conditions. The defendants should be released temporarily to me pending the the fulfillment of the conditions”.

Justice Hassan later granted the request and adjourned further hearing in the matter to September 17 for commencement of trial.

It would be recalled that the two defendants’ were earlier arraigned before the court on a three count criminal charge number FHC/ L/201C/2018 filed before by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Count one of the charge reads; that you Clement Faboyede and Modupe Adetokunbo and others at large on or about the 27th day of March, 2015,conspired amongst yourselves to accept cash payment in the sum of N500million from one Owolanke Micheal which exceeded N5million stipulated by law without going through a Financial institution.

The offence is said to be contrary to section 1, of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended by Act 1 of 2012) and punishable under section 16(2) of the same Act.

In count three of the charge, it was alleged that : Clement Faboyede while acting as the state Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party on the 27th day of March, 2015 made  cash payment of the sum of N500 milion to the Ondo State Election Committee of the People’s Democratic Party which exceeded N5million without going through  financial institution contrary to section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended  by Act 1 of 2012) and punishable under section 16(2)of the same Act.

The two defendants had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charge.

 

 

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