Court grants Naira Marley N2m bail for alleged internet fraud
Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has granted a N2 million bail to a musician, Azeez Fashola, a.k.a. Naira Marley, for alleged fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
While ruling on the bail application filed by his counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the judge admitted him bail on the said sum with two sureties in like sum. Justice Oweibo further ordered that the sureties should not be less than level 10 officer in the state or federal government employment and have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had on May 28, arraigned Fashola (Naira Marley) on a 11 count charges of alleged credit card fraud. In a suit marked FHC/L/178C/19, the commission alleged that some of the credit cards discovered in his residence bore the names Nicole Louise Malyon and Timea Fedorne Tatar.
Upon his arraignment, Naira Marley pleaded not guilty to all the charges that the commission said contravened the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and the Cyber Crimes Act.
Moving his bail application, Ojo argued that the constitutional protection of the defendant is the provision of Section 162 (1) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) imposed a duty on the court to admit the defendant bail unless prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt. He also drew the attention of the court to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Patience Eye and FRN and urged the court to grant his client bail on liberal terms.
“We urge my lord to exercise the discretionary power in favour of the defendant. It is the duty of the prosecution to place before the court a concrete evidence that the defendant is a flight risk or that he will influence the investigation. There is no way the defendant will run away.”
Responding to his submission, the EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the rate at which the yahoo yahoo boys are painting the country’s image negatively calls for intervention. He urged the court to refuse the bail application and grant accelerated hearing in the case.
Justice Oweibo therefore ruled that the EFCC has not place enough evidence to warrant refusing the defendant bail. He subsequently adjourned trial to October 22, 23 and 24, 2019.Meanwhile hundreds of the musician’s supporters thronged the court despite the early hour downpour, chanting ‘we want freedom’, ‘please release him for us’.