Alleged $40m Fraud: President Jonathan’s cousin & wife gets N500m bail each

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday granted President Jonathan’s cousin, Mr Azibaola and his wife stella bail to the tune of N500million each.

Mr Azibaola Roberts who had been in EFCC custody for 80days was charged to court with his wife also for alleged corruption charges to the tune of $40million.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought corruption and money laundering charges against them for alleged payment of $40million into their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

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Though the duo pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge read before them, the trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, however remanded Roberts who is the 1st defendant in the suit in Kuje Prison till yesterday, pending the determination of their bail applications.

Justice Dimgba, the trial judge delivering his ruling on the bail applications filed by the defendants’ lawyers, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) and Gordy Uche (SAN), held that there was no material evidence before the court that Mr Roberts and his Wife would jump bail or frustrate their trial.

Dimgba further held that the “Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, provides that the bail conditions shall not be excessive.

“All things considered, I grant the defendants bail on the following terms: the defendants are admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million each, two sureties in like sum which shall in turn enter a bail bond of the sum of N500 million, the sureties must each be an owner of property in Asokoro or Maitama District of Abuja,” the judge held.
The judge however added that the defendants are to remain in prison custody till their bail conditions are met.
The matter was adjourned till June 28, July 4 and 5 for hearing

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Chief Chris Uche (SAN) Roberts lawyer, while pushing for his bail application urged the court to admit his client  bail on liberal terms. Arguing that the offense Mr Roberts was charged with were bailable
“Plea having been fully taken by the defendants, we will like to prepare for trial, and I want to apply for bail for the 1st defendant to enable us defend him,” he said.

He stated that they had already filed a motion on notice dated May 24, 2016, and filed on May 27.

The bail application which was brought pursuant to Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution and Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), prayed the court to admit Roberts to bail in view of the “pains” Roberts had suffered in the custody of the EFCC despite a valid court order admitting him to bail. Briefing journalists at the end of the session, counsel to the defendants commended the court for granting bail to their clients and expressed confidence that the defendants would meet the bail conditions.