Thursday, July 09, 2015
Court Grants Ohakim N270m Bail
A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted former Governor of Imo State, Chief Ihedi Ohakim bail, a day after remanding him over corruption charges.
Mr. Ohakim was arrested by the EFCC on Tuesday and was arraigned on Wednesday p the hearing of his bail application on Thursday.
At the hearing of the bail application today, the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), urged the court to grant his client’s prayer.
Mr. Uche noted that his client, whose passport had been seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had remained faithful to the bail conditions granted him by the anti-graft agency.
But the prosecutor, Festus Keyamo, opposed Ohakim’s bail.
He argued that rather than granting bail to the accused person, the court should grant an accelerated hearing.
But the judge in his ruling held that the accused person had placed sufficient materials before the court to warrant granting him bail.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, therefore, granted the ex-governor bail in the sum of N270 million, and he must provide a surety who has a landed property in Abuja.
Justice Ademola also ordered the EFCC to submit the passport and other travel documents it seized from the former governor to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
Mr. Ohakim was arraigned by the EFCC on Wednesday on three counts of fraud, including making cash payment of $2.29m (N270m) for a property in Asokoro, Abuja.
He was also accused of collaborating with Tweenex Consociates H.D. Ltd. to conceal the ownership of the property by drafting an agreement portraying him as a tenant in the property rather than owner.
Ohakim, who was governor of Imo State between May 2007 and May 2001, was further accused of failing to declare the property as part of his assets while under EFCC arrest in November 2008.
The offences were allegedly committed in 2008 in violation of section 15(1)(d) and section 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, respectively.
One of the three count charges against him read, “That you, Ikedi Ohakim, on or about the January 26, 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, while under arrest for an offence under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004 knowingly failed to make a full disclosure of your assets by not declaring your ownership of the property known and described as Plot No. 1098 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District – it is also known as No.60, Kwame Nkurumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(3)(c) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section”.
Mr. Ohakim pleaded not guilty to all the three charges against him.
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