Jonathan’s cousin fails bail conditions in alleged $40m contract scam
Cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibola, and his wife, Stella, who are answering to a seven-count criminal charge bordering on an alleged $40 million contract scam, have been unable to fulfil the bail conditions granted them by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had in a ruling on June 8 granted the defendants who are facing trial alongside their firm, Oneplus Holding Limited, bail to the tune of N1 billion.
They were directed to deposit N500 million each as well as produce two sureties in the like sum.The court maintained that the sureties must be owners of landed property in either Maitama or Asokoro Districts of Abuja and must produce evidence that they paid income tax for the past three years.
It stressed that the registry of the court must verify and confirm that all the conditions were met before the defendants are released from Kuje Prison where they are being remanded.
However, the defendants who secured bail through their counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), were yet to fulfil the conditions, which they said are very stringent.
A family source, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, blamed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for orchestrating the “harsh bail conditions” to be met by Robert, his wife and company, Oneplus.
He stated that the defendants have concluded plans to re-approach the court for variation of the bail terms, stressing that it had been difficult to get people to stand surety for the accused persons.
“Not many Nigerians are willing to identify with anybody being tried in court in relation to the previous administration so as not to be tagged along as being corrupt while the harsh economic environment had taught many to be more conservative in their daily dealings.
“We are left with no option than to appeal to the trial judge to vary the bail conditions.“We have already filed a plea with the court to tamper with the stringent bail conditions so that our brother can return home since he was arrested on March 21 this year by the EFCC.
“What the EFCC has not told the world is that the government is actually owing Robert and his company the sum of $4 million for the job he did, which fetched the country over N1 billion revenue,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, added.
Azibaola was arraigned before the Federal High Court after he had spent 80 days in EFCC’s custody and
Justice Dimgba, who ordered accelerated hearing of the charge against the defendants, had adjourned till June 28, July 4 and 5.