A federal high court sitting in Abuja has yesterday granted immediate past Head of Civil Service (HoCS) Winnifred Oyo-Ita N100 million bail.
Oyo-Ita, was on Monday arraigned before the court on charges of fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought the 18-count charges against Oyo-Ita two other individuals and seven companies.
The defendants are: Garba Umar and Ubong Okon Effiok, while the companies are: Frontline Ace Global Services Ltd, Asanaya Projects Ltd, Slopes International Ltd, Good deal Investment Ltd, Ubong Okon Effiok, U&U Global Services Ltd and Prince Mega Logistics Ltd. Meanwhile, following the oral bail application by defence lawyers, Justice Taiwo Taiwo granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100m and two sureties in like sum.
The judge said one of the sureties must be a civil servant in any of the federal ministries or agencies and must be of not less than Grade Level 17.
The judge also ruled that one of the sureties must own a property worth N100m in the Abuja metropolis and must depose to an affidavit of means.
The judge said apart from the provisions of the law that the defendants are entitled to bail until proven guilty, the Coronavirus pandemic cited by lawyers in the matter and the need to maintain social distancing, was one of the major reasons for granting bail.
“The Coronavirus pandemic is something that must play on the mind of all us whether the defendants, defence counsel, the prosecutor and the court. Social distancing is being preached all over the world. And the Federal Government of Nigeria and some states within the federation have rightly put in place steps to ensure that the deadly disease does not take root and spread to unmanageable situation,” he said.
“I shall therefore grant bail to the defendant, not only as a result of the pandemic virus, but also based on the law and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act after due judicial and judicious consideration of the plea of the counsel and the response of the prosecutor.”