BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has admitted a former governor of Jigawa State, Senator Saminu Turaki to a fresh bail of N500m with two sureties in the sum N250m each.
The court presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba granted Turaki bail after pleading not guilty to a 32 count charge slammed on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Tuesday marked the second time, Turaki will be admitted to bail in less than a week as Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had last Thursday July 13, 2017, admitted him to bail from the custody of the EFCC.
However, in the fresh bail, the trial judge, Justice Dimgba held that the sureties should either be a businessman, private person or a civil servant not below the level of Director and must have a landed property within the FCT or any of the Satellite towns within Abuja.
The Judge also directed that the sureties must deposit their evidence of tax payment from the Federal Inland Revenue Service while the defendant must deposit his travel documents with the court’s registrar and should report to the headquarters of the EFCC every first working day of every month.
Justice Dimgba however ruled that the defendant should be remanded in Kuje prison pending the satisfaction of the bail conditions as the court later adjourned the case till September 19, a date which the Federal High Court, Dutse had earlier fixed.
Turaki was arraigned alongside three companies, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Apel Construction Ltd and Wide Heart Construction Ltd over alleged 32-count charges bordering on money laundering.
When the charges were read to the former governor, he pleaded not guilty and his Counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN therefore moved an oral application in which he prayed the court to grant his client bail on ground that the defendant is not an ordinary citizen as he had ruled a state for 8 years.
Raji cited Section163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), which entitled the defendant to bail unless the court sees the contrary.
He further submitted that the defence was not aware of yesterday arraignment as they would have come with a proper application adding that the defendant had spent two weeks in detention.
The prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar however opposed the oral application on ground that Section 163 cited by the defence is more rigid than Section162 of the ACJA.
Mohammed told the court that the defendant was arrested pursuant to a bench warrant issued in September 2014 by Justice Sabi’u Yahuza and that since then, the commission has been making efforts to get hold of him without success until July 4.
He added that the bail is to ensure that the defendant attend his trial but that if he is released on bail, he might not make himself available for the trial and it may defeat the efforts of the prosecution.
Turaki was first arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court but had his case transferred to Justice Sabi’u Yahuza of the Federal High Court, Dutse, Jigawa State after he objected to the jurisdiction of the court in Abuja.
He was subsequently re-arraigned at the Federal High Court in Dutse, Jigawa on a 32-count charge of misappropriating N36b while in office.
However after his re-arraignment at Federal High Court, Dutse, Turaki allegedly refused to attend trial a situation which resulted in the Commission declaring him wanted in May, 2013.