CBN ₦8bn Fraud: Court Denies CBN Staff, Others Bail

Justice Nathaniel Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan, on 15th June, 2015 dismissed the bail application brought by six former staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Justice Emmanuel in dismissing their application for bail, stated that the interest of the accused must not only be considered while looking at their application but that of the common man and the society. He said the court was refusing the accused persons bail because of the gravity of the offence which borders on the economy and well being of the people of the country.

The allegation of fraud, conspiracy, concealment and accusation of property illegally among other charges by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), were docked in three batches.

The first batch includes Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Olufemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf were all charged for five count charges.  Also, the second batch includes Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Togun Kayode Philips , Salami Ibraheem (Sterling Bank) and Oddia Emmanuel (Sterling Bank) were charged for eleven count charges.

And the third batch which includes Kolawole Babalola ,Olaniran Muniru Adeola , Togun Kayode Philips and Tope Akintade ( Eco Bank) were charged on fifteen count charges which involves false entry of cash deposited by the Eco bank of N490 million at CBN against N79.7million ,of N1000 mutilated notes between 2010 to 2014.

Justice Emmanuel in the ruling declared that sections 35 and 36 of the constitution of Nigeria and section 162 of just newly enacted criminal laws gave him the discretion to admit the accused persons to bail but the accused in their proof of evidence must put credible evidence before the court.

The trial judge noted that the allegations against the accused persons are mind-boggling to the extent that a reasonable can never gloss over it.

Justice Emmanuel emphasized that the submissions of the counsel to the accused persons that the accused never jump bail when EFCC gave them administrative bails cannot hold water because the commission cannot detain suspects more than specific period.

The trial judge noted that the offence which the accused persons had committed is a new way in economic crimes that have serious implications on the nation's economy generally.

According to him “I am not persuaded with the submission of the counsel to all the accused persons that they deserved to be admitted to bail. Laws must always be used for society engineering and if this should be so, the court must feel the pulse of the society in discharging her discretions ".

Justice Emmanuel therefore dismissed all the bail applications and granted all the accused accelerated hearing.

He adjourned hearing the substantive suits to 6th and 7th of July 2015.

But counsel to the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, Barrister Olalekan Ojo later told Journalists that there shouldn’t be room for parity of judgment in the administration of justice in the country.

Barrister Ojo noted that  "we have cases of former governors, banks chiefs especially during former governors of the CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi before courts all over the country that were granted bails pending trial."

He noted that the families of the accused persons had instructed them to appeal against Justice Emmanuel's ruling .

According to the first count charge of FHC/IB/26c/2015 ,that you Patience Okoro Eye ,Afolabi Oluyemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, kolawole Babalola ,Olaniran Muniru Adeola, and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf on or about 5th of August ,2014 in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, have by abuse of office, being employees of Central Bank of Nigeria contributed to the economic adversity of Federal Republic of Nigeria when you destroyed a box marked "Counted Audited Dirty" filled with Newspapers in place of a box containing N10 million of ,N1,000 denomination and which activity led to the increase of money in circulation which the briquetting exercise of CBN which contravenes the constitution of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1(2)(B) and section 10(1) of the recovery of public property (Special provision Act ) cap R4 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. Among  others.

Counsels on both sides spoke with journalists immediately after the sitting.

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