Court remands ex-Accountant General, others over N109b alleged fraud
The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting at Maitama, yesterday, remanded former Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) following his alleged involvement in illegal diversion of public funds to the tune of about N109.4 billion.
The court remanded the ex-AGF following his arraignment on a 14-count charge that bordered on conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.
The trial judge, Justice A.O. Adeyemi Ajayi, held that Idris and other defendants in the matter should be remanded in the custody of the NCS till July 27 when their bail applications will be heard.
The Defendants in the matter are Ahmed Idris, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
When the charges were read, all the defendants, after pleading not guilty to the charge, separately begged the court to release them on bail pending the determination of the case against them.
Chris Uche (SAN), who appeared for the ex-AGF, assured the court that his client would be available to face the charge against him.
Uche told the court that since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had earlier granted administrative bail to the defendant, the bail should be extended to court bail.
“In a matter of this nature that the defendants have been on bail, and since there is no complaint that they violated the administrative bail conditions, I pray that they be allowed to continue to enjoy the same,” Uche submitted.
Besides, he drew the attention of the court to the fact that the EFCC had earlier seized the international passport of his client.
“This court has the power to grant bail in a matter of this nature, either by oral application or by a formal application.
“Moreover, we have also filed a formal bail application, and also served same on the Prosecution. The prisons are already saturated and unsafe,” Uche added.
The counsel to the second and third defendants all aligned with Uche, urging the court to accede to the request for bail of their clients.
However, the Prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that he would need time to respond to the defendants’ bail applications.
Rotimi argued that allowing the Defendants to go home after their arraignment, without hearing and determination of their formal bail applications, would send a wrong signal to the society.
“To ask them to go home without coming to argue the application for bail will send a wrong signal to the society that if a less important citizen is arraigned, such person would be made to suffer.
“Having filed the application, we need to react to what they said, especially on the issue that they were granted administrative bail and they complied to it,” he said.
The Prosecution counsel further argued that the administrative bail that was granted to the defendants ended immediately the charge was filed against them.
“I, therefore, urge my lord not to be persuaded by submissions of the defence lawyers,” Jacobs added.
In his ruling, Justice Ajayi ordered that the defendants should be remanded in the Kuje Correctional Centre till July 27 when their bail applications will be heard.