Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja today granted bail in the sum of N10 million to a man standing trial on a 27-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and forgery to the tune of over N300million.
The accused Victor Ochola was dragged court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In granting the accused bail, Justice Mohammed also ordered him to provide two sureties in like sum.
One of the sureties must have a landed property worth N10million naira in Abuja or its environs, while the second person must be a civil servant not below the rank of GL 08.
The sureties shall submit their recent passport photographs to the court. The defendant is to submit his international passport to the court and shall not travel until the determination of the case.
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 reads:
“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, P. O. Okolo, SAN, to secure his bail.
Ochala was to be arraigned on June 22, 2015, but had remained elusive.
After several adjournments, the court, through a warrant ordered his arrest; an action that led to his eventual arraignment on February 10, 2016. He has since been remanded Medium Security Prisons on the orders of the court while his trial continued.
Moving his bail application, Okolo pleaded that, “the defendant needs access to his lawyers for the preparation of his defence”. He also urged with 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 grounds that, the facts deposed to in his affidavit had already been canvassed in the previous applications which fell flat. He went on to add that, “the defendant is in the habit of forging documents and the prosecution is investigating the letters attached to the counter affidavit.”
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse his application.
However, Justice Mohammed admitted the defendant to bail and adjourned to 22 June, 2016 for continuation of trial.