N8bn currency scam: Court refuses bail to ailing accused
A Federal High Court in Ibadan on Thursday refused the bail applications filed by the seven accused persons standing trial over alleged N8 billion currency scam.
The accused are; Kolawole Babalola, Muniru Olaniran, Kayode Togun, Isiaq Akano, Festus Adeyemi, Akeem Oyebanji and Ayodele Alese.
Justice Joyce Abdulmaleek in a ruling turned down the applications believing that the accused might jump bail and refuse to show up for trial.
“I have previously refused similar bail application and I know that the only option left for the applicants is to appeal the decision of the court.
“The accused persons have also failed to convince this court that their ailment was contagious even though they said that the medical facilities in the prison were not adequate to cater for their deteriorating health.
“In exercising my discretionary power, I see the possibility of the accused persons jumping bail if granted bail.
“Therefore, the application for bail is refused and dismissed accordingly,” she ruled.
After the ruling, the judge adjourned the case till Nov. 21, for continuation of trial.
Earlier, Mr R. O. Sadiq, counsel to all the applicants had tendered a bail application, citing deplorable health conditions of his clients as reason for the bail application.
Sadiq had asked the court to consider various portions of the constitution as well as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in her decision.
Mr Adebisi Adeniyi, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), hwever, opposed the bail application, saying the accused persons might jump bail.
Adeniyi also reminded the court that it had rejected all previous bail applications tendered by the accused.
Similarly, the court also turned the bail application tendered by one Esther Olunike-Afolabi in a sister case.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Olunike-Afolabi was earlier convicted and jailed in the case when she opted for plea bargain arrangement with the EFCC.
Due to her involvement in another case, she was produced in court, but her bail was rejected.
Meanwhile, in another sister case, Mr Eddwin Ennah, a former Head of Currency Processing and Disposal Unit, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Ibadan office, who testified in the case, said he was shocked to see newspapers cut to the size of Naira notes in a box meant to contain N10 million.
Testifying before Abdulmaleek, Ennah stated that the box was supposed to be containing N10 million made up of N500 notes all through, however, the box was interleaved with N100 notes and cut papers.
“My lord, another terrible thing during that box inspection period was when our then Branch Controller asked us to cover up that discovery.
“However, I disagreed with him.
“The Branch Controller asked each of us to contribute certain amount to make up the loss sum in the box that was interleaved,” Ennah told the court.
The witness further pointed out that election fraud was not the only avenue of great corruption in Nigeria, but also that several billions of Naira were usually lost to such exercise at the CBN.
NAN report that Babalola, Olaniran and Togun along with others have since 2015 been facing multiple charges bordering on conspiracy, conversion, forgery, recirculation of mutilated currencies and stealing of N8 billion at Ibadan office of CBN.
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