The Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to Ali Bello and three others in their N3 billion fraud trial. The court admitted the defendants to a total bail of N2 billion.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu held that the charges against the defendants were bailable, and that bail is necessary to enable defendants charged with an offense to prepare well for their trial. The judge ordered the defendants to pay N500 million each as bail.
Bello, Abba Adauda, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, and Iyadai Sadat were arraigned on February 8, 2023, on an 18-count before Justice Egwuatu, News About Nigeria reports.
The defendants were charged with procuring E-Traders International Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N3,081,804,654.00, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation.
They were also charged with procuring E-Traders International Limited to transfer the aggregate sum of $570,330 to an account domiciled in TD Bank, United States of America, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation.
In granting bail, Justice Egwuatu held that the defendants are to pay N500 million each, with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must reside in Abuja, with identifiable addresses, and own landed property worth N500 million within the jurisdiction of the court.
The original title documents to the said property must be deposited with the Registrar of the court, together with evidence of tax payment for three years running from 2020 to 2022.
Additionally, the judge held that the defendants are to deposit their international passports with the court and can only travel after due permission from the court. The matter was adjourned to April 16 for the commencement of the trial.
Ahmed Raji, SAN, arguing the bail applications of the four defendants contended that the offenses against his clients are ordinarily bailable and pleaded that the court should use its discretion in favor of the defendants. The senior lawyer argued that the defendants have so far posed no resistance or difficulties during the period of their investigation.
Responding, counsel to the EFCC, M. K. Husseini, had strongly opposed the request, arguing that the defendants are likely going to jump bail and not make themselves available for trial and urged the court to deny the defendants bail. However, after considering both arguments, Justice Egwuatu granted bail to the defendants.