• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Court grants N50m bail to Olu Agunloye, former minister of power

Agunloye denies financial crimes over $6bn hydropower project

Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court Apo, on Thursday granted bail to Olu Agunloye, former Minister of Power and Steel, setting the bail amount at N50 million.

Agunloye, facing seven charges related to the fraudulent award of a contract and official corruption during his arraignment on Wednesday, had initially been ordered remanded in the Kuje Correctional Centre pending a hearing and ruling on the bail application.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is currently investigating Agunloye in connection with the $6 billion Mambilla Hydropower Contract.

During the proceedings, Adeola Adedipe, the Counsel for the ex-minister, argued for bail on behalf of his client, either through self-recognisance or in lenient terms.

Adedipe asserted that Agunloye posed no flight risk, countering the prosecution’s claim as a “misconception and communication barrier.”

In addition, he urged the court not to mandate a public servant as a surety, emphasising that Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) addressed concerns about bail and potential absconding.

He stated that even if the defendant were to flee, the trial would continue, and conviction could be pursued.

Despite opposition from the prosecution, Onwuegbuzie ruled in favour of granting bail to the defendant. The bail was set at N50 million, with the condition that Agunloye must produce two sureties of equal sum. These sureties should be “reputable” individuals of means residing within the FCT, possessing verifiable properties valued at N300 million with a valid Certificate of Occupancy.

According to report, the sureties are required to submit copies of their identity cards and photocopies of their international passports to the court.

“Additionally, the defendant must surrender his passport to the court and be present for all scheduled hearings. The next court date for the matter has been adjourned to February 12.”