Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High in Lagos, on Tuesday admitted the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele to bail in the sum of N20million.
Emefiele is standing trial on a two-counts charge bordering on possession of a single barrel shotgun, as well as possession of123 rounds of live ammunition without licences.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After his plea, defence counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, who led four other senior advocates, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.
Defence counsel told the court that the same had been served on the prosecution, adding that there is a stamp of the office of the Attorney General as proof.
But the prosecutor, Mrs N.B Jones, objected to the bail application on the grounds that she had not been served with a copy of the application.
She informed the court that her office had been on the lookout for a possible bail application of the defendant but had seen none.
She added that since she has just been aware of the application in court, she then requires time to respond by way of affidavit, since facts have been deposed.
Besides, she noted that since there is no sitting Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the moment, the defence could not have effectively served the same.
But defence counsel told the court that the prosecutor had no excuse not to proceed today in response to the bail application as the same had been duly served on the prosecution’s office.
He argued that the office of the AGF is a creation of statute, and so cannot exist in a vacuum.
He urged the court to so hold
In a short ruling the court agreed with the submission of defence counsel, and urged him to move the defendant’s bail application.
Moving the application, defence counsel urged the court to admit the defendant to bail as he is not a flight risk being, a reputable former Governor of CBN.
He told the court that the defendant had been kept in custody for a long time and had lost so much weight and so, required medical attention.
Defence also informed the court that the defendant will be available to stand trial , adding that assuming the prosecutor had produced a witness, the defence would have been ready to proceed.
He therefore urged the court to grant the defendant bail.
In response, the prosecutor informed the court that she was opposed to the bail application of the defendant as he was a flight risk
She told the court that the defendant had refused to submit his international passport which indicates such flight risk.
Besides, she also told the court that being a very influential citizen of Nigeria, the defendant could also interfere with the case and evidences intended to be led by prosecution.
She urged the court to refuse bail
In his ruling, Justice Oweibo agreed with the submission of the defence counsel on the grounds that the offence for which the defendant is charged is bailable.
The court held that bail can only be denied where any of the circumstances set out in section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, is established.
The court held that the prosecution had not furnished such circumstances before the court.
The court consequently, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum
The court held that the surety must depose an affidavit of means. and have a landed property.
He urged that the defendant be remanded in custody of the correctional service pending perfection of bail.
The court adjourned the case until Nov. 14 for trial.
In the charge, the prosecutor told the court that the defendant who resides at No 8 Colorado street in Maitama Abuja, committed the offence on June 15, at No. 3b Iru close, Ikoyi Lagos.
He was alleged to have in his possession a single barrel shot (Jojeff Magnum 8371) without licence.
The defendant was also alleged to have in his possession 123 rounds of live ammunition cartridges, without licence.
The offence contravenes the provisions of sections 4 and 8 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Law of the Federation, 2004.(NAN)
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