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Bayelsa Accountant-General, 2 others get bail for N300m

By  Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA—A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday granted Bayelsa State Accountant General, Francis Okokuro, and two others bail in the sum of N300 million.

Okokuro and the two others are facing trial before the court over allegation of stealing N2.5billion belonging to the state government.

The two others are the state’s Director of Treasury at Government House, Abot Clinton, and Director of Finance, Anthony Howells.

They were all remanded at the Kuje prisons until yesterday when the trial judge, Justice David Okorokwo, admitted them to bail.

But the judge ordered yesterday that none of the accused persons must be allowed to go home until certain conditions were met.

The court said that each of the accused must produce one surety who must not be lower in rank than an assistant director in the Federal Civil Service and that the said civil servant must own landed property in Abuja.

Besides, the high court judge ordered that the civil servant surety who is willing to stick out his neck must deposit two of his recent passport photographs with the court and depose to an affidavit of means.

The court also ordered that the surety must not be okayed until he had collected a letter from the accused person’s counsel introducing him.

Justice Okoronkwo added that each of the accused persons themselves must deposit their international passports with the court to stop them from travelling out of the country without the court’s permission pending the hearing and determination of the substantive case.

He ordered that all the accused persons must remain in Kuje prisons where they are presently detained until the fulfillment of all the conditions.

None of the accused persons could meet up with the bail conditions yesterday.

The court, however, proceeded on Easter vacation. It will not resume until April 12, this year.

Although the three principal officials of  Bayelsa State government were sent back to prison yesterday, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr Charles Osuala, whose name was also on the charge sheet, was nowhere to be found.

But the EFCC assured that Dr Osuala could only hide but not run away from the long arms of the law.

Lagos lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, is prosecuting the accused persons on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

But the charge was prepared and signed by Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, a Chief Legal Officer with the EFCC.

The accused persons were alleged to have breached certain provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act,) 2004.


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