By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
A Benin high court yesterday granted the bail application to the Majority Leader of Edo state House of Assembly, Hon. Philip Shaibu, in connection with a forged tax clearance certificate the accused allegedly used in seeking re-election for Etsako-West constituency II seat in 2011.
Shaibu, who had earlier been granted administrative bail by the court, is standing trial on 6-count charge on alleged forgery preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) in 2013.
When the plea was taken, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges read to him.
Delivering ruling on the bail application yesterday, Justice Esther Edigin granted the bail application in the like sum of N3 million by a surety, a resident and owner of a landed property in Benin.
The trial judge cited relevant sections of the Criminal Procedures Act (CPA) and held that the court has sufficient evidence that the accused, having deposed to an affidavit, will not to jump bail.
Justice Edigin noted that the offence, bordering on false declaration of tax clearance of Zipnot oil company however does not attract a capital punishment, but attract a minimum of three years imprisonment.
On the issue of alleged threat to life by the ICPC staff made, as couched in Exhibit A and B in paragraph 4 (e) of the accused’s reply brief, the judge held that since it was neither reported with police nor backed by documentary evidence, were not enough to deny the accused bail.
Chief Legal Officer to ICPC, Mr Godson Igbadume did not oppose the bail application.
He urged the court to attach stringent bail condition.
Counsel to the accused, Mr Enahoro Aghomo argued that the Majority Leader, Philip Shaibu be granted bail on self-recognition.
Hearing on the case was adjourned by the court to November 6th 2014 for prosecution witnesses.