The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Friday, March 2, 2018, arraigned the trio of Emmanuel Nwude, Emmanuel Ilechukwu and Rowland Kalu before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a 15-count charge bordering on forgery and dealing in forfeited property.
The defendants were said to have tampered with a property that has been forfeited by a court order.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, prayed the court for a trial date and asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.
Counsel to the first defendant, Stephen Amallagoge, however, informed the court that he had filed a summons for bail on his client’s behalf, which was served on the prosecution on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
He also prayed the court to remand the first defendant in the EFCC custody pending the hearing of the application.
“My Lord, the first defendant has prostate cancer and is due for surgery sometime in March.
“In view of this health challenge, we are praying the court to remand him in the EFCC custody pending the hearing of his bail application”, he said.
Counsel to the second and third defendants, Ladi Williams, SAN, also brought summons for bail on behalf of his clients before the court.
Williams, in his application, stated that his clients are lawyers and prayed the court to grant them bail on self- recognizance.
He also asked that they be remanded in the EFCC custody pending the fulfillment of their bail conditions.
“It is pertinent to show the court that these two defendants are lawyers who were called to the Bar over 29 years ago without any pending issue whatsoever.
“We crave your indulgence, my Lord, to release them on self- recognizance,” he said.
Williams assured the court that his clients would not interfere with any investigation if granted bail and would also produce whatever documentation would be needed to secure their bail.
In his response to the submissions by the defence counsels, the prosecution counsel asked the court for a short date to respond to the bail summons.
Omewa added that the defendants had taken their pleas and were no longer the responsibility of the EFCC.
“EFCC is not the proper place to remand them since they have taken their pleas and I also have information that our cell is congested.
“My Lord, bail is at the discretion of the court and the essence of bail is to secure the attendance of defendants,” he submitted.
He, therefore, asked the court to place conditions that will make the defendants stand trial and not abscond.
Justice Dada, after carefully listening to the submissions of all counsels, granted the second and third defendants bail in the sum of N200, 000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must have properties within the Lagos metropolis and evidence of tax clearance for three months.
The defendants are also to deposit their Call to Bar Certificates with the court registrar.
The matter was adjourned to March 6, 2018 for hearing of the first defendant’s bail application