From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
A Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital, yesterday granted bail to a serving member of Benue State House of Assembly, representing Logo state constituency, Kester Kyenge and four others.
The other four (4) persons including former chairmen of Ukum and Ado David Sev-Av Alex Ogaba as well as Terfa Bossua and Andrew Ayande who were aides to former Governor Gabriel Suswam wee all remanded at Makurdi Medium prison since last week.
The five persons are part of the 52 persons indicted by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom, upon assumption of office to probe the eight (8) years administration of former governor Gabriel Suswam. They are accused of corruption charges bordering on money laundering.
The presiding Judge, Justice Joseph Aneke who granted the bail stated that the accused persons have been on police administrative bail without trial.
Justice Aneke noted that the offence committed by the accused persons is weighty in nature, noting that it is bailable.
He said that from the records made available to him pertaining the accused persons, they have no past criminal records or jump bail while on police administrative bail, a development which he said could be an indication that if they are granted bail, they will remain committed to the case until they are proven guilty or innocence.
‘’I have unfiltered discretion to grant bail to these accused persons in a matter like this, though the rules for bail has not be exhausted, but for the nature and gravity of the offence, their protection and medication, I admit them for bail on strenuous conditions’’, Justice Aneke stated.
He therefore granted bail in the sum of N100 million each to the five accused persons amounting to N500million with five sureties in like sum.
The judge ordered that each one of the sureties to be provided by the defendants must be a highly placed person and must be a resident of Makurdi who must have a landed property in Makurdi, the state capital.
He maintained that the sureties must deposit the original copy(s) of the CoO of their landed properties and two(2) recent passports and evidence of tax certificates.
Justice Aneke however, fixed November 14th, 2017 for further mention of the case.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the ruling, the led counsel to the defendants, Barrister Innocent Daa’Gba, expressed gratitude to the judge for granting bail to his clients.
He maintained that they have commenced the process of putting things together to meet up the bail conditions.
‘’We are not much worry about the bail conditions; I believe at the end of the day, we should be able to produce the requirements for their release. I have confidence in my clients that they would not disappoint me and they will always make themselves available anytime it is required of them,’’ Barr. Gba said.