By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today granted bail to People’s Democratic Party,(PDP), Deputy National Chairman, (South) Yemi Akinwonmi and two senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged N179.8 million fraud.
Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos admitted the defendants
Yemi Akinwonmi, Dickson Atiba and Ogunmodede Oladayo to bail in the sum of N50 million each with one surety in like sum.
However, consequent upon an undertaken by their lawyer, Chief Edward Ayo-Odugbesan, to stand as surety for the defendants, Justice Obiozor temporarily released the defendants to their lawyer and mandated the defendants to perfect the bail conditions within a week or risk being sent back to prison.
Justice Obiozor also directed the Odugbesan ( defendants’ lawyer) to produce the original copy of his call to Bar Certificate.
He was also mandated to give a written undertaken that the defendants will be available for trial.
The lawyer was also ordered to sworn to an affidavit of means and also furnish the court with his valid statement of account.
The surety and each of the defendants were also requested to supply two recent passport photographs to the court.
The judge equally mandated the Court’s Chief Registrar to ensure that all documents to be provided by the lawyer were properly verified.
Trial of the three accused persons is expected to commence after the court’s long vacation.
Recalled that the three accused who are from Ogun State INEC office had earlier been arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan on an eight count-charge bordering on conspiracy, by befitting from proceeds of crime, receiving various cash sums without going through financial institutions and accepting various cash sums exceeding amount authorized by the law.
The three accused persons were said to have received the said money from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Stanbic/IBTC, Diamond Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Skye Bank Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, sometimes in March 2015, during General Election
The offences according to the prosecution led by Rotimi Oyedepo are contrary to section 18 (a), 15(2)(d), 16 (d) 1(a), 16 (1) (d), and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as Amended and punishable under 15 (3)(4) and 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.
The accused however pleaded not guilty to all the charges.