By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
Hope of the four embattled ex_helmsmen of the Nigeria Football Federation, Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Amanze Uchegbulam, Taiwo Ogunjobi and Bolaji Ojo_Oba, to end their sojourn in Kuje prisons, was yesterday dashed by Justice David Okorowo of a federal high court sitting in Abuja.
Justice Okorowo further referred the embattled NFF ex_officials back to prison shortly after he discovered that they had failed to substantially comply with some of the bail conditions hitherto stipulated to them by the trial high court.
The presiding high court Judge had on September 7, while acceding to an oral bail application made before him by counsel to the quartet, S.I Ameh, SAN, ordered each of them to deposit N100m bond, as well as produce two sureties each in like sum.
He stressed that not only should one of such sureties be an Assistant director of grade level 15 and above in the civil service, he equally stressed that the person must be an owner of a landed property within the Abuja metropolis who would be compelled to swear an affidavit of means before the high court, adding that such person must as well provide evidence of 3_years tax clearance issued by the First Inland Revenue Service.
Justice Okorowo specifically requested for the title deeds of the property owned by the intending surety even as he ordered the accused person to surrender their international passports and passport photographs of both themselves and their individual sureties.
Following the inability of the accused persons to perfect these conditions a day after their arraignment, they were committed to prison from where they were produced in court yesterday by armed prison officers.
Vanguard gathered that the trial Judge upon receiving the purportedly perfected terms, refused to append his signature on the grounds that most of the Certificate of Occupancy provided by the accused persons, were that of corporate organizations rather than private individuals.
Irked by this fact, Justice Okorowo not only accused the indicted ex_officials of attempting to hoodwink him into granting them bail, but further ordered that they should be taken back to Kuje, pending when they would be ready to comply with the court’s directives.
As at the time of filing this report, the accused persons were yet to meet_up with their bail demand.
Furthermore, some of the sureties they intended using declined at the eleventh hour, sequel to their inability to provide the 3_years tax clearance requested by the court.
It would be recalled that operatives of the anti_graft agency on July 7, arrested the indicted NFF ex_officials after a plethora of incriminating documents were uncovered against them.
Though they were subsequently allowed to go home on administrative bail, the EFCC however re_arrested them on Monday and charged them to court the next day.
They were explicitly accused of siphoning about $125, 000 (N18.7 million) through shoddy hotel bookings in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, $250,000.00 lost as a result of booking the wrong airline for the trip, $400,000 allegedly expended on the Nigeria/Colombia friendly match and $236,000.00 which vanished from the coffers of the Glass House in 2009.
Other allegations against them were that they pocketed $5million marketing revenue received by the NFF from FIFA and corporate sponsors of the World Cup, N96million allegedly used in purchasing two luxury buses for the national team, N34million allegedly spent to conduct elections for the football monitoring body, $1.2 million World Cup grant unaccounted for and N185 million Lulu and his co_accused persons allegedly shared amongst state chairmen of the Nigerian Football Association (NFA), in their futile bid to frustrate their ouster from the football house.
One of the charges against them reads, “That you Sani Lulu Abdullahi(M), Amanze Uchegbulam (M), Dr Bolaji Ojoba (M) and Taiwo Ogunjobi(M) on or about the month of February, 2009, in the office of the Nigerian Football Federation in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial division of the federal high court, while being board members of the NFF, did criminally misappropriate to wit; misappropriating the sums of N900 million, $1 million, $200,000 , released to the NFF at various times without giving proper accounts as to how the monies were spent in South Africa, thereby committed the offence of abuse of office contrary to and punishable under section 104 of the Criminal Code Act. C. 38 laws of