Court grants bail to 14 ‘oil thieves’

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scale_of_justiceA Federal High Court has granted bail to 14 accused persons, who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of conspiracy and oil bunkering.

The suspects, who were arrested at Toto Military checkpoint, Nasarawa State, with 14 trailer load of suspected crude oil are Joseph Amaechi, Israel Friday, Ubadia Francis, Abayomi Adebisi, Abdullahi Idris, Samuel Job, Onah Peter Ode, Sabo Tasha Hassan, Abdullahi Moh’d, Abubakar Abdulkadir, Ehiogu Paul, Ibrahim Saidu, Garba Mohammed and Bartholomew Onyema.

They were arrested after a failed attempt to bribe their way through the checkpoint.

While adjourning the case to June 13, 2013 for trial, Justice Chukwu granted bail to Joseph Amaechi who is the prime suspect in the case in the sum of N30 million and two sureties in like sum.

The sureties, according to the ruling, must have landed properties in the Central Business District of Abuja.

The other 13 accused persons were granted bail in the sum of N5 million each and one surety each in the like sum. The surety, the judge said, must also have landed properties in the Central Business District of Abuja.

Before the accused were granted bail, the defence counsel, Rotimi Ojo and Omar Musa, while moving the motion for the bail of the accused persons at the last adjourned date, argued that bail is a constitutional right of the accused though at the discretion of the court.

Both counsel argued that the accused persons have no previous record of capital offence and will not jump bail as they are readily prepared to make themselves available for prosecution if admitted to bail.

The counsel, therefore, prayed the court to grant the bail application in favour of the accused persons.

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