The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in Maitama, Abuja, has on Thursday, granted bail to the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed, and his co-defendants charged with N109 billion fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, opposed the defendants’ bail applications, arguing that their alleged offences were in the scale of crimes against humanity.
But ruling on Thursday, the trial judge, J.O Adeyemi-Ajayi, granted bail to the defendants, saying the defendants were entitled to bail in spite of the allegations levelled against them.
She said granting them bail was in line with the rule of law, especially because they were presumed innocent as the allegations against them had yet to be proved.
She also said the prosecution did not mention that the defendants misbehaved while in EFCC custody.
The court went on to grant bail to the defendants mainly on the terms and conditions of the administrative bail the EFCC had earlier granted them during investigations.
Part of the bail conditions imposed by the judge is an order restricting the defendants to the FCT. The judge said the defendants shall not leave the capital city without permission of the court.
The judge also ordered that the defendants not to procure alternate passports until the case is expensed, having deposited their original passports with the EFCC.
She directed the defendants to sign an undertaking to abide by the bail conditions by the EFCC.
Trial began shortly after the court granted bail to the defendants on Thursday.
EFCC had, on July 22, arraigned Mr Idris alongside three others – Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited – over alleged N109 billion fraud.
All the four defendants pleaded not guilty to the 14 charges filed by the EFCC.
Mr Idris’ lawyer, Mr Uche, made futile efforts to secure the defendants’ bail through an oral application he made to the court shortly after the defendants took their pleas.
The oral application was opposed by the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Jacobs, who insisted that the application must be in written form for the court to hear it.
The judge, agreeing with the prosecuting counsel, held that the court would not entertain an oral bail application.
The court then ordered the remand of the defendants, and directed the parties to file their position on the bail. It fixed the hearing of the bail applications for Wednesday.