Alleged $6bn Fraud: Court Admits Ex-minister Olu Aguloye to N50m Bail

Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie of a Federal Capital Territory High Court  on Thursday admitted former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Aguloye bail in the sum of N50 million.

Aguloye was charged with seven counts bordering on forgery, disobedience of presidential order and corruption in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/617/22, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.

Ruling in Aguloye’s bail application, Justice Onwuegbuzie held that the defendant had placed enough facts before the court for it to be granted bail.

He added that bail is meant to ensure a defendant is present in court to face trial.

He further held that bail is at the discretion of the court.

The judge held that the court is favourable disposed to grant bail to the applicant/defendant and subsequently granted Aguloye bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.

He ordered that the sureties, must be persons of means and repute who possess landed property worth N300 million and must deposit photocopies of the documents of the property as well as that of their passports with the court.

The judge added that the sureties also have to be residents of FCT and their residences would be verified by the registrar of the court

He further ordered that Aguloye must drop his passport with the court and must not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.

Earlier, counsel for Aguloye, Adeola Adedipe SAN, said the former minister was not a flight risk, contrary to the prosecution’s claim to that effect. According to him, Aguloye had voluntarily gone to EFCC office on May 16, 2023 before the commission wrote a letter inviting him on May 19, 2023.

He told the court that shortly after the May 16 visit to EFCC, the defendant fell ill and was admitted in a hospital, which he (Aguloye) duly notified the commission in writing and pleaded for time to enable him honour the invitation.

According to Adedipe, the defendant filed a suit in court when EFCC’s pressure was becoming too much and also notified the anti-graft agency of the pendency of the suit, only for EFCC to later declared him wanted on December 13, 2023.

Adedipe urged the court to grant the defendant bail in self recognizance being a elderly statesman, the pioneer Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and his ill health or in the alternative be granted bail in most liberal terms.

Citing the Appeal Court decision on Dasuki vs DG, Department of State Service (DSS), the senior counsel urged the court not to ask the defendant to get civil servant as a surety before being granted bail.

He further said that the provision of Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) has cleared the apprehension of court on whether a defendant granted bail would jump bail or not  Naira Lost 11% as Banks Issue New Update on FX Spending

Responding, prosecution counsel, Abba Mohammed, urged the court to refuse bail for the defendant being a flight risk.

He added that the court should equally discountenance the submission made by Adedipe from the Bar, urging the court to confine itself with the issues raised in affidavits and counter affidavits before it.

EFCC equally urged the court to disregard the authority of Dasuki vs DG, DSS cited by Adedipe, arguing that using it would breach the prosecution’s right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Justice Onwuegbuzie however adjourned the case until Feb. 12 for hearing.