From Agaju Madugba, Kano
Federal High Court sitting in Kano has admitted a Kaduna businessman, Shehu Mahdi, to bail in the sum of N10 million and a surety in like sum.
Mahdi is standing trial on a six-count charge of cybercrime-related allegations brought against by the Katsina State government.
Earlier arraigned in Katsina, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court directed that the case be taken to Kano, based on allegations of possible bias by the defendant.
When the case came up yesterday in Kano, Mahdi who arrived the court in clutches pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Following which, his counsel, O.I. Habeeb, applied for bail, describing the offences as bailable.
The prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, opposed the bail application alleging that the defendant had earlier jumped bail granted him in Katsina.
Ruling on the application for bail, the judge, Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa, dismissed the prosecution argument as speculative and the allegation of having jumped bail as unsubstantiated.
The judge therefore granted the defendant bail adding that the surety must be resident and have landed property within the Kano municipality and fixed May 19, 2021 for commencement of trial.
Some of the offences against the defendant include various media interviews in which Mahdi was said to have made allegations of misappropriation of various sums of money against the Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, and the Secretary to the State Government.
Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa. According to the prosecution, the allegations were capable of inciting the public and also intended to cause disaffection against the Governor.