The suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AG-F), Ahmed Idris was on Thursday granted bail at N5bn by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Idris, his Technical Assistant, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele; a director in the office of the AG-F, Mohammed Kudu Usman and a firm linked with Idris – Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited – were arraigned on July 22 on a 14-count charge bordering on stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.5b.
The court, on July 27 took arguments from lawyers to parties on the defendants’ bail applications, following which it scheduled ruling for July 28.
Justice Jadesola Adeyemi-Ajayi, in a ruling on Thursday, rejected the objection by the prosecuting agency – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – and granted bail to Idris, Akindele and Usman.
Justice Adeyemi-Ajayi agreed with the defence that, despite the weight of the allegations against the defendants, so long as they do not border on capital offences, the defendants are entitled to bail.
The judge proceeded to admit the three defendants to bail on the terms and conditions attached to the earlier administrative bail granted them by the EFCC.
Part of the conditions included that Idris would be allowed on bail at N5b with two sureties, one of whom must be a Permanent Secretary in the service of the Federal Government while the other must be a director in the same service.
For Akindele and Usman, Justice Adeyemi-AJayi granted bail to each at N2b, with two sureties, who must be directors in the service of the Federal Government.
The judge then adjourned till August 10 for trial.
Lawyer to the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) had, while opposing the defendants’ bail applications on Wednesday, equated the alleged offences for which the defendants were being tried to terrorism and genocide.
Jacobs told the court that Idris and his co defendants committed criminal breach of trust which is a serious offence that should not be granted bail.
He urged the court to consider the nature, gravity and the weight of the charges as they are sufficient enough to warrant the refused of their bail applications.
Jacobs noted that the case is a public office offence “which is equal to terrorism and genocide,” and should be handled with all seriousness.
He told the court that the prosecution was ready for the commencement of trial.
Lawyers to the defendants – Chris Uche (SAN), Peter Abalaka and Mr Mohammed Ndayako prayed the court to grant bail to their clients.
Uche, who represented Idris and his firm, argued that the alleged offences with which his clients were charged are bailable, adding that they are not capital offences.
He noted that Idris was granted administrative bail by the EFCC and that he did not abuse the bail earlier granted him.
Uche said his client has people who are willing to stand sureties for humans prayed the court to allow him on bail on liberal terms.
Abalaka, who represented Akindele, argued that the prosecution’s counter-affidavit was hinged on sentiments and prejudices, which, he added, do not have a place in the trial.
He added that his client is obedient and will not disobey court orders.
Ndayako, who represented Usman, spoke in similar vein and urged the court to admit his client to bail on liberal terms.