By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, arraigned a Director of Finance and Account in the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, Ibrahim Tumsah alongside his brother, Tijani, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Federal Government through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Obono-Obla, arraigned the two brothers on a two-count charge bordering on failure to declare their assets to the presidential panel.
Tijani, is said to be a member of the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative and a former Interim National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/4/2018, contained two counts of failure of the defendants to declare their assets “without reasonable excuse and upon the notice to declare” them before the panel.
According to the prosecution, the offence is contrary to and punishable under section 3(3)(1)(a) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act 2004.
They pleaded not guilty to the two count charge.
Sequel to the not guilty plea, Counsel to the defendants, Abdul Mohammed and Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) informed the court of the bail application before it.
Responding, prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo SAN, did not object to the bail applications.
The trial judge in a short ruling, granted the defendants bail to the tune of N20million and two sureties.
The sureties must either be a business man or a public civil servant not below the rank of grade level 15.
In addition, the sureties must have landed properties anywhere in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The defendants are to deposit their international passports with the court and should not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.
Justice Dimgba has threatened to remand them to Kuje prison if they failed to comply with the stated conditions within three days.
Meanwhile, the trial has been fixed for March 1, 2018.
Before their arraignment yesterday, Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, had on December 6, 2017 ordered that 86 luxurious vehicles together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, all of which the panel allegedly seized from the two defendants should be forfeited to the FG.
It has had been reported that all the seized 86 vehicles, 23 of which were said to be amoured, were described by detectives as brand new.
The court’s forfeiture orders also affected four houses, two of which were located in Wuse II, one in Wuse Zone 7, and the other in Jabi, all in Abuja.
Also forfeited to the government in the interim, was a quarry plant in Kuje, Abuja.
Eight containers with household items also seized by the panel from Tumsah were also affected by the court order.
The 86 vehicles, the landed assets, and the other items were said to have been found on November 17, 2017, in a warehouse located on the premises of the house at 22, Igbani Street, Jabi, Abuja.