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Why Court Granted Agbele N50m Bail; Fined EFCC N5m

*EFCC rejects bail, files stay of execution
*EFCC acting wickedly, on vendetta mission — EKITI GOVT

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor & Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of an Abuja High Court at Maitama, yesterday, admitted an aide to Governor Ayodele Fayose, Mr. Abiodun Agbele, bail to the tune of N50 million.

Agbele, who has been in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, since June 27, had through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, approached the high court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.

While querying the legality of his continued detention without trial, Agbele, told the court that the anti-graft agency arrested and kept him in its custody on the premise that it is investigating over N1.3 billion that was allegedly traced to governor Fayose’s personal bank account.

Aside praying the court to order the immediate release of his client, Ozekhome, SAN, also requested that N500 million be awarded to the applicant as compensatory damages for his unlawful arrest and detention.

Specifically, Agbele prayed the court to enforce his fundamental rights to liberty, human dignity and the right to acquire and own properties in line with provisions of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Delivering judgment on the matter, Justice Adeniyi declared the action of the EFCC in detaining Agbele beyond the period stipulated by the law as wrongful, unlawful and unconstitutional.
He said the continued detention of the applicant without trial or a valid court order was in breach of his fundamental human rights.

Consequently, Justice Adeniyi imposed a fine of N5million on the EFCC, saying the money should be given to the applicant as compensation for his unlawful arrest and detention.

The judge said the anti-graft agency could not controvert the allegation that it has kept the applicant in its custody beyond the period stipulated in section 35 of the 1999 constitution.
According to the court, the fine it imposed on the agency was to make it learn how to operate within the ambit of the law.

Justice Adeniyi further faulted the commission for rushing to an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court to secure a remand warrant, while Agbele’s fundamental right enforcement application was already pending before his court.

He maintained that the Magistrate Court would not have granted the remand order if it was aware of the potency of the suit before the high court.
He went ahead and voided the remand warrant the Magistrate Court issued to the EFCC.

He therefore released the applicant on bail in the sum of N50 million and a surety in like sum.
The surety, according to the court, must be a top ranking civil servant with the federal government or any of its agencies and must show evidence of residence in Abuja.

More over, the court directed Agbele to surrender his international passport with the EFCC.
It however ordered the commission to within 21 days, either charge the defendant to court, or release all the property it seized from him.
EFCC rejects bail, files for stay of execution
Meantime, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, yesterday, expressed indignation over the ruling of a Federal High Court, which granted bail to an ally of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State, Abiodun Agbele.

Responding to the action of the judge, the EFCC described his ruling as ‘shocking’ and indicated its readiness to appeal against it and file for a stay of execution.

Spokesman for the EFCC said it was ‘curious for Justice Adeniyi to grant bail to a suspect who is being investigated for a range of financial crimes bordering on fraud and money laundering.

EFCC on vendetta mission — Ekiti Govt
Reacting through the Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the Ekiti State Government has described EFCC's decision to appeal the Abuja Federal High Court judgment, granting Governor Ayodele Fayose’s ally, Mr Abiodun Agbele bail and awarding N5 million damages in his favour as clear demonstration of the anti-corruption agency’s wickedness and show of vendetta against the governor.

A statement made available to Vanguard by the Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the judge’s conclusions were shocking given the background of the information presented to the court, which included the fact that the suspect was being held with valid remand warrants issued by competent courts.
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