$6bn Mambilla contract: Court grants ex-minister, Agunloye N50m bail

Former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye

A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, on Thursday, granted bail in the sum of N50m to a former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye.

The court had ordered his remand in the Kuje Correctional Service pending the hearing of his bail application over an alleged $6 billion fraud in connection to the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station.

Agunloye served as minister between 1999 and 2003 under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned Agunloye before Justice J.O. Onwuegbuzie on Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges read to him.

The former minister’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, moved the motion and prayed the court to grant bail to his client by way of self-recognisance or in liberal terms, saying Argunloye is not a flight risk and that the notion canvassed by the prosecution was “out of misconception and communication barrier.”

Adedipe also appealed to the court not to order the use of a public servant as surety for his client.

The counsel argued that the misconception about bail and the mischief argued by the prosecution has been cured by Section 352( 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Under this provision, Adeola said, “Once a defendant is admitted to bail, even if he absconds, the trial will continue and he will be convicted where necessary.”

However, the prosecution counsel opposed the bail application.

In his judgment, Justice Onwuegbuzie ruled that a N50 million bail be granted to the defendant and ordered him to produce two sureties in like sum.

The sureties must be “reputable” and “people of means” resident within the FCT.

They must have properties worth N300m with a Certificate of Occupancy that must be verifiable, the judge ruled.