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Balogun Granted Stiff Bail Conditions

Posted by From Lillian Okenwa in Abuja with agency on 2005/04/19 | Views: 579 |

Balogun Granted Stiff Bail Conditions


Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Tafa Balogun, who has been standing trial at a Federal High Court, Abuja for alleged money laundering and stealing over N13 billion belonging to the Nigeria Police Force, was yesterday granted four very stringent bail conditions by the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako.

* To produce 2 GCONs, 4 first class monarchs

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Tafa Balogun, who has been standing trial at a Federal High Court, Abuja for alleged money laundering and stealing over N13 billion belonging to the Nigeria Police Force, was yesterday granted four very stringent bail conditions by the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako.

He was granted bail in his self cognizance on conditions of providing two eminent persons as sureties in the sum of N50 million each.

The sureties should also be holders of national honours of merit not below Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON), the second highest national honour usually conferred on former vice presidents and retired Chief Justices of Nigeria.

The two sureties should also be landed property owners within Asokoro or Maitama districts of the Federal Capital Territory which title document should be deposited with the court.

Balogun was also to produce four traditional rulers of first class ranking reflecting a geographical spread of the country.
Balogun is required to report every week to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) nearest to him in addition to surrendering all his travel documents, including all his international passports to the court.

Justifying the bail conditions, Justice Nyako said, "The offence alleged against the accused is a very serious one particularly at this stage of the nation's fight against corruption, and the desire to cleanse our nation's image internationally.

"The constitution guarantees the freedom of all its citizens and presumes them innocent until proven guilty. The grant of bail is thus constitutional.

"Furthermore nothing has been placed before the court to show that if granted bail, the accused will not attend his trial. Be that as it may, I cannot close my eyes to the magnitude of the amount involved, the national outrage and implication of the nature of the allegation."
After the ruling Balogun's lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, described the conditions for bail particularly the first one, as stringent and difficult to fulfill.

Awomolo said that it might be difficult to get any of these eminent citizens to guarantee his client's bail for political reasons.

He, however, said he had options of applying to the court for a review of the conditions or appealing against the ruling.

Amowolo also asked the judge to make an order that his client would not be re-arrested by men of the EFCC, alleging that it is in the character of the commission to re-arrest suspects already granted bail by the courts.
Musleem Hassan, EFCC's counsel, said he was surprised at the allegation and that the commission had no intention of re-arresting Balogun.

He also asked the Judge to decline the request because no formal application had been filed to that effect. Nyako declined to make an order, saying that since Balogun had been admitted to bail he remained on bail.

She told Awomolo to report to the court if Balogun is re-arrested. The case was then adjourned to April 28 for hearing.

Balogun was thereafter taken to another court away from the glare of newsmen and well wishers. He remained there while efforts were made to meet the conditions for his bail.
Meanwhile, the embattled former police boss has filed a motion asking for an order quashing the 70 count-charge preferred against him on the grounds that:

The Federal High Court cannot exercise judicial powers, authority and jurisdiction on the charges because (a) the authority and persons who initiated the complaint, investigation and preferment of the charges acted in violation of the 1999 Constitution.

The conditions precedent to exercising powers of prosecution by EFCC were not satisfied.

There is no prima facie case disclosed in the proof of evidence to warrant the applicant to undergo the trial in the federal high court.

That the charges, arraignment and trial abuse the constitution and court's process.

Balogun asked the court to discharge him from all the charges preferred against him.

An affidavit attached to the motion averred that charges 1 to 31 have nothing to do with the Money Laundering Act 2004.
The affidavit, which was deposed to by a lawyer in Awomolo's chambers, Mr. Eyitayo Fatogun, stated that the proof of evidence attached to the charges did not show any prima facie case.

He also averred that the appropriate authority did not authorise the prosecution.
EFCC's counsel asked for time to react to the motion.


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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.