Court grants Oronsaye bail on self-recognition

Oronsaye

Former Head of Service, Steve Oransanye Short before his arraignment at Federal High Court by EFCC on corruption charges in Abuja on 13/07/15. PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo

The Federal High Court, Abuja Division yesterday granted former Head of Civil Service to the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye bail on self-recognition.

Oronsaye’s co-accused, Osarenkhoe Afe however, has to fulfill some conditions, which includes bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.

The court also ordered that one of the surety must be a civil servant, serving or retired and not less than Grade Level 16, while the other must be an entrepreneur who has a landed property within Abuja, which should be commercial or residential and must worth N75 million.

The court added that the entrepreneur must also produce his tax clearance for the past five years. Both sureties are to swear to an affidavit of means and produce two passport photographs.

The court also directed that if the second accused person cannot meet his bail conditions before July 27, he should be remanded in Kuje Prisons.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on July 13 arraigned Oronsaye and Afe on charges bothering on money laundering.

The accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

The court consequently adjourned to hear the accused bail application and further released ‎them to go home and come back on the next adjourned date.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to Oronsaye, Kanu Agabi (SAN)‎ prayed the court to grant the accuse persons bail on self-recognition.

Prosecuting counsel, Chief Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) did not oppose the bail applications on ground that the court had earlier after the accuse persons’ arraignment, ‎released them to their lawyers upon an undertaking that they would be produced in court on Tuesday.

But he opposed the request by the defence counsel, that the accused persons should be granted bail based on self-recognition.

Jacobs insisted that the court should impose conditions that would ensure the accused persons’ attendance in court for their trial.

Ruling on the bail application, the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole admitted the Oronsa ye to bail on self-recognition but imposed fine on Afe.

While adjourning the matter till October 5 for mention, Justice Kolawole said he would return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for re-assignment.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina sent his counsel, Esther Uzoma to court to debunk the allegation that he was at large.

Although Maina was not a party in the 24-count charge, however, his name appears many of the counts as an accomplice who is on the run.

Uzoma told the court that it was unfair to describe her client as being at large when he was never invited by the ‎EFCC since 2011 when the anti-graft agency started taking statements from people concerned.
But the Prosecuting Counsel however insisted that Maina had been at large. ‎He prayed the court to extract an undertaking from Uzoma to the effect that she would produce her client in court.

Though, Uzoma agreed to accept service for the charges on behalf of her client but she insisted that the EFCC should follow the rules of the court on how to bring PRTT boss to court.

The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Oronsaye and other accused persons for allegedly conniving in defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of N118, 992,201.6‎ between March 2010 and December 2011.

The fraud was allegedly perpetrated under the guise of paying the money in tranches for the contract of biometric data between the period.

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