…As Court Grants Him N500m Bail –
A ‘breath of fresh air’ came the way of former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Bala Mohammed on Friday with Justice Abubakar Talba of FCT High Court, Gudu, granting him bail in the sum of N500 million.
The bail application success was cheering news for Bala, who is facing a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, corruption to the tune of N864 million and false declaration of assets. However, he was also directed by the court to produce two sureties in like sum who must include: a serving senator and a director in the Federal Civil Service, with landed property in the FCT.
Additionally, the sureties must possess Certificate of Occupancy to the said property, and evidence of payment of tax in the last three years. Equally, the ex-Minister is to deposit his international passport with the Court registrar.
The bail conditions was determined and confirmed by counsels to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the defendant, Mr. Johnson Ojogeane and Chief Chris Uche (SAN).
Justice Talba, who had to stand down the bail ruling for about 30 minutes to allow both counsels time to work out the bail conditions, has now fixed on July 4, 2017 as the new date for hearing.
Explaining his decision, Justice Talba said both sides were given time to sort out the bail conditions due to arguments advanced during the last adjourned date. While the prosecution insisted on stringent bail conditions due to the gravity of the offence, the defence was in favour of liberal terms.
According to the Judge, “The applicant has placed before this court sufficient material to warrant his bail’’, adding that bail is a human right issue, bound and protected by the constitution.
Justice Talba had on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, ordered that the former Minister be remanded at Kuje prison pending the ruling on his bail application.