By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday, granted bail in the sum of N10 million to one Victor Ochala who is standing trial on a 27-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and forgery to the tune of over N300million.
Ochala is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The trial judge also ordered the defendant to provide two sureties in like sum. He stressed that one of the sureties must have a landed property in Abuja or its environs worth N10m.
According to the court, the second surety must be a civil servant not below grade level 08.
The sureties are to submit their recent passport photographs to the court, even as the defendant was also ordered to surrender his international passport to the court.
Ochola, allegedly, in connivance with one Dayo Jimo (now at large) fraudulently defrauded one Mohammed Jubril, under the pretext of purchasing some plots of land for the victim.
One of the counts in the charge against him read: “That you Victor Ochola, Dayo Jimoh (now at large) and others still at large sometime in January, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among themselves to commit an unlawful act to wit: obtaining money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”
He was admitted to bail after two failed attempts by his lawyer, Mr. P. O. Okolo, SAN, to secure his bail.
Moving his bail application, Okolo pleaded that, “the defendant needs access to his lawyers for the preparation of his defence”.
He also urged the court to admit the defendant to bail to enable him attend to his “worsening health conditions”.
Victor Ukagwu, counsel to EFCC, opposed the application on the ground that the facts deposed to in his affidavit had already been canvassed in the previous applications that was refused.
Meantime, Justice Mohammed has fixed June 22 for continuation of the trial.