Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, his brother Hamidu Lawal and two others got bail at N50 million each yesterday before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama, Abuja.
The ex-SGF, his brother, Suleiman Abubakar and Apeh Monday, including two firms – Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd – were arraigned before Justice Jude Okeke on Tuesday on a 10-count charge of fraud.
In a ruling yesterday, Justice Okeke granted them bail for N50 million, with one surety each in like sum.
The judge said the surety must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction and must be a holder of landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court, with evidence of tax payments for the past three years.
Justice Okeke added that the surety must deposit his international passports with the court.
The judge, in granting them bail, noted: “The prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence in line with Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 not to grant bail.
“The court can grant bail except in situations where the defendants are likely to jump bail, interfere with investigation or attempt to conceal evidence.
“The ACJA 2015 has made peculiar and extensive provisions regarding bail, and the court is guided by the provision, which states that a defendant shall be entitled to bail.
“The prosecution has the right to object to the bail, but the bail application succeeds.”
He ordered the defendants to remain in EFCC custody pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.
The judge adjourned to March 18, this year, for the beginning of trial.
The alleged fraud committed by the defendants was said to be in relation to contracts awarded by the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) for the removal of grasses in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.