An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday dismissed the bail application of a self-styled army general, Bolarinwa Abiodun, charged with defrauding two companies of N266 million.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abiodun pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The charge bordered on obtaining money under false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretences.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in her ruling on Monday, denied the defendant bail application and also granted him accelerated hearing of the case.
“The defendant did not challenge the averment of the counter-affidavit and the further affidavit of the prosecution.
“I am, therefore, in agreement with the prosecution that the defendant constitutes a flight risk.
“Although the offences against the defendant are bailable offences, I am inclined to refuse the application for bail and order accelerated hearing.
“Thus the application for bail is refused and the defendant is to remain in prison custody and accelerated hearing is hereby ordered,” she ruled.
The defence counsel, Mr Kayode Lawal, had on April 11 prayed the court to grant his client a bail, adding that the defendant had earlier produced a surety, as requested by the EFCC.
“We have been told by the commission to produce a surety and we have complied.
“We made several attempts to make the defendant get administrative bail.
“This is the only option for the defendant to ensure his fundamental, constitutional rights are not breached, my Lord,” Lawal said.
The EFCC Prosecution Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, however, opposed the bail application and submitted that situation warranted the court to exercise judicial discretion against the defendant.
He argued that the defendant did not counter the point raised by the prosecution.
Oyedepo urged the court to refuse the bail application bail.
“The issue is that where there is no reply to a counter-affidavit, the facts therein deposed are deemed admitted and conceded by the other party.
“Looking at the disposition of the person seeking your lordship’s discretion, is it safe for our witnesses? Is it safe for us to say the man in whose custody we have found multiple ammunition and gun be released?
“We cannot put our lives in jeopardy. We will not wait until the tragedy happens and we do not want to jeopardise the life of the complainant. He is not safe, my lord.
“This matter is everywhere. Even for his own safety, he should have a place that is safe for him. He should be in a safe custody.
“We, therefore, urge your lordship with due respect to refuse the application and to order accelerated hearing as we are ready to expeditiously prosecute this case and we assure my lordship there will not be any delay.” Oyedepo submitted.
NAN reports that the prosecution submitted that the defendant allegedly forged a letter of appointment as Chief Of Army Staff, dated May 20, 2020 and purportedly said the document emanated from The Presidency.
He also alleged that the defendant forged a Nigerian Army Identity Card with serial number 387140.
The defendant was also alleged to have been in possession of a forged certificate of confirmation, dated Nov. 7, 2018, purporting same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
The prosecution said the alleged offences contravened the provisions of Sections 1(3) and 6 of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses, 2006 and 363 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 201.