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Court grants Adoke N50m bail on fresh 7-count charge

A Federal High Court, Abuja, Monday, granted bail to former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to the tune of N50m.

Justice Binta Nyako, ruling on bail application on an amended fresh 7-count charge against the former AGF and Aliyu Abubakar, who is standing trial on one count charge, granted bail to the defendants on the same terms as an FCT High Court, in Gwagwalada, Abuja, presided over by Justice Abubakar Idris Kutigi had already granted them.

Justice Kutigi had on January 30 granted Adoke and Abubakar bail in the tune of N50m with one surety in like sum.

They are standing trial in a 41-count charge in his court.

Delivering a ruling, Monday, Justice Nyako, said it was needless giving another ruling when there is a concurrent one.

The defendants are charged before Nyako for alleged bribery and money laundering offences.

The charges read in part:

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, sometime in September 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, accepted as payment the sum of United States Dollars equivalent to N300m from Abubakar Aliyu and you thereby committed an offence as specified under section 1 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, sometime in September 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, made a payment of a sum of United States Dollars equivalent to N367.3m to one Usman Mohammed Bello and you thereby committed an offence as specified under section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, sometime in September 2013, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court, used the total sum of N300m when you knew that the said funds formed part of your unlawful activities to wit: payment of an amount exceeding stated threshold amounts outside a financial Institution and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (d) and punishable under section 15 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke on or about the 13th of September 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did cause to be made a structured cash payment in 13 tranches of a sum of money totaling N50m into your Unity Bank Plc Account No. 0020153263, which sums you knew is part of an unlawful act, to wit: the payment of an amount exceeding stated threshold amounts outside a financial Institution, intending to conceal the origins of the said funds, contrary to section 15 (2 )(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke on or about the 16th of September 2013, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did cause to be made a structured cash payment in 22 tranches of a sum of money totaling N80m into your Unity Bank Plc Account No. 0020153263, which sums you knew is part of an unlawful act, to wit: the payment of an amount exceeding stated threshold amounts outside a financial Institution, intending to conceal the origins of the said funds, contrary to section 15 (2 )(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

“That you Mohammed Bello Adoke, sometime in September 2013, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court, used the total sum of N367.3m when you knew that the said funds formed part of your unlawful activities to wit: payment of an amount exceeding stated threshold amounts outside a financial Institution and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15 (2) (d) and punishable under section 15 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

“That you Aliyu Abubakar, sometime in September 2013, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, made a payment of the sum of United States Dollars equivalent to N300m to Mohammed Bello Adoke and you thereby committed an offence as specified under section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.

After the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.

Consequently, a team of counsel to Adoke, led by Chief Kalu Agabi (SAN), moved the bail application.

Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who argued the bail application, prayed the court to grant Adoke bail in self recognition being a former AGF, pending the hearing of the charges.

He said in the alternative, Adoke should be granted bail on favourable and liberal terms, or better still to allow Adoke enjoy bail terms as already granted him by an FCT High Court.

He said Adoke has never been convicted of any crime and that the charges before the court are bailable offences.

He argued further that bail is constitutional right and a defendant should not be denied his right of freedom of free movement until when he is convicted.

Chief Wole Olanipekun, counsel to the second defendant, Abubakar, also argued along same line.

However, the prosecution counsel, Bala Sanga, urged the court to use its discretionary power to grant the defendants bail.

The court adjourned to April 1 and 2 for trial.

 

Felix Omohomhion, Abuja

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