By IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI, Abuja
Having spent thirty-nine days at Kuje Maximum prison, a Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, granted bail to the former Director of Pension Accounts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, Dr Sani Teidi Shaibu, to the tune of N500 million.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola further directed the ex-pension boss who was said to have connived with a former manager with the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mr Udusegbe Omoefe Eric, and diverted about N5 billion meant for pensioners across the federation, to produce two sureties in like sum..
Likewise, the court also released his alleged accomplice, Eric, on the same bail terms, stressing that the sureties must be owners of landed property with the jurisdiction of the court.
Besides, the sureties are to deposit the title deeds of their property with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
According to the judge, “The accused persons should equally deposit their travelling documents with the court registrar and must not travel without the permission of the court. If the travelling passports are already with the court, they should be transferred to the registrar of this court.”
Before adjourning hearing on the substantive case against them till October 23, Justice Adeniyi directed that in the event the accused persons fail to meet the conditions upon which they were granted bail yesterday, they should be returned to Kuje prison.
It will be recalled that the court had earlier suspended ruling on their bail application indefinitely sequel to a petition the ex-pension boss wrote against the presiding judge.
Teidi, who was said to have acted without the consent of his lawyer, wrote the Chief Judge of the High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, accusing the trial judge of deliberately allowing him to remain in prison custody despite that he had filed his application for bail.
It was the contention of the accused person that the judge had on several occasions thwarted efforts by his legal team to secure his release.
Consequent upon the petition, Justice Adeniyi adjourned the case in order to answer to respond to the petition as he was directed to do by the CJ.
The duo who are answering to a 22-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, breach of public trust and obtaining by false pretense, were on June 7, arraigned before the high court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
EFCC had maintained that the accused persons used nine companies and siphoned pension funds.
It gave names of the companies accused of complicity in the pension scam as Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nigeria Ltd, Haleath Enterprises, Uthatak Nigeria Ltd, Krasiva Nig Ltd, Badawulu Ventures Limited, Ebunu Attah Investment, Muha Millennium Motors Limited, Ribaile Petroleum Ltd.
EFCC had earlier revealed before the court how the accused persons used seven Bureau De Change operators and stole pension funds, adding that during the investigation process, one Mohammed Muhamud, owner of Muha Motors, who it said volunteered statements on 16/2/2011 and 31/5/2011, confessed that Dr Shaibu, at various times, used his bank accounts to transfer huge sums of money to another account operated by one Chief Anthony Azewaputa, who EFCC said facilitated the purchase of “Brifina Hotel”, for the 1staccused person.
The agency told the court that the offence which it said ran contrary to sections 1(1) (a), 7(1) (b) (i), 8(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under sections 1(3), 7(2) (b) (i) of the same Act, was committed between 2009 and 15 March 2010.
More so, EFCC, alleged that the remanded pension boss, siphoned money from the pensions department and purchased plot B59 Dawaki Extension Layout in Abuja from one Stanley Obioma Iwu, with the intent to disguise the ownership of the proceeds of the illegal transaction, as well as, looted monies and purchased 100 units of Lifetime 32-LCD Television, 100 units of Samsung Refrigerators, 70 units of Samsung 1.5 HP Air-Conditioners, 30 units of Samsung Split unit 1.5 HP Air Conditioners, 15 units of 3HP Package unit Air-Conditioners from Iwu, Chikwado Ezenwoye and Essential Gadgets Ventures