The immediate-past Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido and his two sons may end up celebrating Sallah in prison if the order of a Federal High Court in Kano State which remanded them in prison custody till September 28, 2015, is not reviewed.
The court had remanded Lamido and other accused persons in Kurmawa, Kano City prison pending the determination of their bail applications.
Muslim faithful are currently observing a 30-day fasting period which is expected to end on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Sallah will be celebrated on Friday, July 17, 2015.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Lamido and his two sons – Mustapha and Aminu – jointly with Aminu Wada Abubakar on a 28-count charge of alleged financial crimes amounting to about N1.3 billion.
When the charges were read to them, Lamido, his two sons and the other suspect pleaded not guilty.
The prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Chile Okoroma, told the court that the ex-governor had, between 2007 and 2014, used his position to launder the money by awarding various contracts through his companies, Bamaina Holdings Ltd, Bamaina Aluminium Ltd and Speeds International Ltd.
According to Okoroma, the former governor engaged in private business though a public officer with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the contracts.
Subsequently, Mr. Offiong E. Offiong, the lead lawyer to Lamido and the other suspects, told the court that he had applied for bail on behalf of his clients since last Tuesday, arguing that the alleged offences were bailable.
He also told the court that as citizens of the country, his clients were entitled to the rights of liberty and freedom as enshrined in 1999 Constitution. He wondered why his clients were not entitled to temporary freedom in view of their status in the society.
But opposing the bail application, Okoroma argued that the application did not follow due process, hence the need for the court to refuse the bail applications.
In her ruling, Justice Evelyn Anyadike rejected the application on the grounds that it was not filed in line with the legal procedures and adjourned the case till September 28, 2015.
Also on Thursday, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of Federal High Court in Abuja granted former Imo State governor Ikedi Ohakim bail in the sum of N270 million.
The EFCC arraigned Ohakim the previous day on a three-count charge of fraud, including making cash payment of $2.29m (N270 million) for a property in Asokoro, Abuja.
Ohakim, who is being prosecuted for N270 million fraud perpetrated in 2008, is to produce a surety resident in Abuja to guarantee the bail. He was the governor of Imo State between 2007 and 2011.
In his ruling on the bail application by Ohakim’s lawyer, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered the EFCC to submit the passport and other travel documents seized from the former governor to the deputy chief registrar of the court.
Two days ago, Justice Ademola ordered the accused to remain in EFCC custody pending the hearing of his bail application Thursday.
Uche, in his argument for temporary freedom to his client, urged the court to grant Ohakim’s prayer, arguing that the offence was bailable.
He said his client, whose passport had been seized by the EFCC, had remained faithful to the bail conditions granted him by the anti-graft agency.
But the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, opposed the bail, arguing that rather than grant bail to the accused person, the court should ensure an accelerated hearing.
Justice Ademeola in his ruling held that the accused person had placed sufficient materials before the court to warrant granting him bail.
The prosecution accused the former governor of collaborating with Tweenex Consociates H.D. Ltd. to conceal the ownership of the property by drafting an agreement portraying him as a tenant in the property.