June 22, 2009

N15bn scam: Iseghohi, 2 others get bail

By Emmanuel Ovuakporie

ABUJA — Hope of an easy passage to freedom for the trio of Thomas Iseghohi, Muhammed  Buba, and Mike Okoli, Group Managing Director (GMD) of Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP) Plc, Company Secretary and Deputy General Manager (DGM) respectively was on Monday dimmed as the court granted them bail on stringent conditions.

The accused persons who had stayed in both EFCC and prison custody for more than three weeks on the orders of the court, are standing trial on a thirty two counts charge of  criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of Fifteen billion naira (N15 billion). The case was  brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ruling on the bail application, the presiding judge after a review of the submissions of the prosecution and the defence counsel, Audu .M. Nunghe and Joe Gadzama respectively, noted that bail was a fundamental right of an accused person according to section 35(1) of the 1999 constitution.

Justice Chikere said the accused were presumed innocent until proven otherwise and that the offences for which they were charged were bailable.

She thereafter granted them bail in the sum of N500million each, accused to produce two sureties in like sum, sureties must be civil servants with either a federal ministry or parastatal and must produce  of appointment.