From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Reprieve came the way of a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Adedibu Ojerinde, as the Federal High Court on Thursday admitted him to bail in the sum of N200 million in his alleged N5b fraud charge trial
Justice Obiora Egwuatu sitting at the Abuja division of the court had while ruling on Ojerinde’s bail application held that bail is at the discretion of the court.
The judge held that there is no evidence before him why the defendant should not be admitted to bail.
However, he ordered the defendant to produce two surety in like sum, who must be residents of Abuja and show evidence of tax payment.
One of the sureties, the judge held, must be a professor at a university, while the other must own landed property with title documents in Abuja, which must be verified by the court along with operatives of ICPC
The professor in addition must provide documented evidence of professorship, letter of appointment and staff identity card.
Justice Egwuatu subsequently adjourned till July 22 and 23 for trial.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission(ICPC) had arraigned the former JAMB Registrar on an 18 count charge bordering on diversion of public funds to the tune of over N900 million.
He was said to have committed the offence during his tenure as Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO) and JAMB.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and his lawyer, Chief Peter Oluwannishola, SAN, urged the court to grant his client temporary bail pending the hearing and determination of the main application which was rejected.
However, arguing formal bail application on Thursday, Olorunnishola urged the court to grant his client bail pursuant to Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and Section 35(1) of the Constitution.
The request was opposed by the prosecution lawyer, Mr Ebenezer Shogunle, who claimed that the defendant had breached the administrative bail conditions granted to him by the ICPC, adding that the defendant will interfere with the investigation as well as intimidate witnesses.
However, Justice Egwuatu in the ruling held that there was no evidence before the court to prove that the defendant jumped administrative bail, interfere with an investigation or intimidate witnesses, adding that the prosecution had already concluded its investigation of the matter.