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Alleged N285m fraud: Court grants couple, aide bail

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IKEJA—An Ikeja High Court, Lagos, weekend, granted bail in the sum of N40 million to a couple, Innocent Eloka, his wife, Bernadine, and one of their aides,  Francis Okocha, who were charged before the court on a two-count charge of alleged stealing.

Trial judge is Justice Habeeb Abiru.  The court overruled the argument by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  not to  grant them bail. The accused were ordered to provide two sureties in like sum, while one of them (sureties) must own a property in Lagos.

According to the court, the sureties must show evidence of source of income supported by a sworn affidavit, while the address of the sureties be verified by either a police officer not below the rank of a Sergeant or Registrar of the court.

At the resumed hearing of the bail application, counsel to the defendants told the court how the complainant had allegedly attacked the company and staff of the accused persons, despite  the fact that the issues relating to the company were already before the court.

He said he was surprised that the complainant in the N285m case was not mindful of the case in court.

Justice Abiru urged him to raise the issue when the matter comes for hearing on the adjourned date.

The accused, in their bail application, had argued that the onus was on the prosecution to show that they should not be admitted to bail, adding that the administrative bail granted them by commission was never flouted.

They added that the counter affidavit filed by  EFCC and sworn by a prosecuting counsel,  failed to give source of information to which the averments were based on and that affidavit was incompetent and be struck out.

They argued that if it was struck out, there was nothing filed against the motion for bail.

EFCC argued that the bail should be dismissed, and want the to order an accelerated hearing.

The court noted that nothing had been filed by EFCC to show that the accused persons would jump bail and granted the application.

Trial has been fixed for November 29, 2011.

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