A former Director of Pensions Accounts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Sani Teidi Shuaibu, Monday pleaded with Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court Abuja to review the bail conditions granted him five months ago.
He was arraigned alongside a former manager with the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Udusegbe Omoefe Eric, on June 7 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 22-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, breach of public trust and obtaining by false pretence.
He was also accused of using nine companies to siphon pension funds amounting to over N5billion.
On July 12, he was granted bail in the sum of N500 million.
Part of the bail condition was that the sureties should be owners of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
Apart from that, the sureties were to deposit the title deeds of their property with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court as well as deposit their travelling documents with the court’s registrar.
More so, the bail condition stated that they must not travel without the permission of the court.
But five months after, Shuaibu cannot fulfill the bail conditions.
At the resumed sitting yesterday, Shuaibu's counsel, Sunday Ameh (SAN), drew the attention of the court to his application dated November 4, asking the court to reduce the bail sum from N500 million to N100 million.
Ameh said the applicant “is seeking an order of this honourable court to reduce the bail terms of the first accused person (Shuaibu) from N500million to N100million.
He also prayed the court to reduce the number of sureties from two to one and in like sum.
The application was supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit, deposed to by one D.N Idoko.
The 1st accused person’s lawyer emphasised that the plea for the reduction of the bail sum had become imperative because, according to him, “All efforts made to fulfill the initial bail conditions had proven abortive and with that N500million bail term which is on the high side, we are unable to secure the accused person’s bail."
Ameh said it had been pretty difficult to get a surety and property worth N500million, adding that the one they saw had no land titles.
He therefore, begged the court to use its discretion to grant his application, taking into consideration the documents before it, just as he pleaded that the deteriorating health status of his client demanded that he be granted bail.
Similarly, the 2nd accused person, Eric, through his counsel, Adegoke Adewale, informed the court of his pending application dated September 13, “seeking bail variation due to special constraint.”
Adegoke on his part pleaded with the court to slash the N500million bail term placed on him to N10million as well as reducing the number of sureties from two to one and in the like sum.
“We have found it extremely difficult to raise the sum of N500 million to enable us perfect the bail conditions and we thereby urge the court to grant our request to favourably reduce the bail sum to N10million or less,” Adegoke pleaded.
At this point, Justice Adeniyi interjected and told him that the matter was grievous and criminal in nature, insisting that the court would only do what the law said in criminal cases by ensuring that an accused person appears in court to face trial without jumping bail.
Reacting to the two applications, Godwin Obla (SAN), prosecuting the matter on behalf of the federal government did not object but however insisted that, “I am only interested in the court making sure that the accused persons appear in court for their trial. Any condition imposed by the court in this regard is acceptable to me.”
â€¨Having listened to the adoption of both applications, Justice Adeniyi said he would deliver a ruling on November 28 and 29, the days fixed for further hearing