By Ernest Nwokolo, Abeokuta
•Gets N500m bail
Former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel was re-arraigned yesterday at the State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the state capital.
He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 38-count criminal charge. He was, however, granted a N500million bail bond with two sureties.
Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje warned Daniel that the court will revoke the bail if he threatens the life of the witnesses.
He said the same step would be taken against him on the attempts to interfere with the smooth hearing of the case.
The caution followed the fear of the EFCC that if Daniel was released on bail, he might scuttle the smooth hearing of the case and threaten the lives of the witnesses.
The anti – graft agency cited the mysterious death, on March 17, of Apagun Oluwole Olumide, a man it called a “vital witness”. EFCC noted that the death has heightened fears among other witnesses, who might fear for their safety if the accused is granted bail.
“…Prosecution (EFCC) is already short of one of its vital witnesses, in the person of Apagun S.O. Olumide, who died mysteriously on the very day he reported at the EFCC in company of his friend to apply for the release of his international passport to enable him travel to the United Kingdom on a business trip,” EFCC said in an affidavit deposed to by Danladi Yatah, a police officer.
Counsel to EFCC Mr Rotimi Jacobs told the court that the late Olumide “gave useful information” to the agency and that his manner of “death caused serious suspicion” that should not be “trivialised”.
Jacobs said the court has of “protect the prosecution and the witnesses”, adding that it was the reason the EFCC opposed the bail application.
Daniel is facing a 38-count charge of breach of trust, fraudulent conversion of public landed property to personal use, failure to declare his assets truthfully and allegedly stealing over N211million.
The anti-graft agency yesterday hinted that it would prefer more charges against the former governor later.
According to EFCC, the former governor allegedly stole the N211million in tranches when he was governor.
Other allegations include building his Conference Hotel in Ijebu-Ode and his Aserudero Court home in Sagamu on landed property designated as judges’ quarters.
Daniel was also accused of allocating four hectares of Ogun State landed property in Agbara to his wife, Olunfunke, while using Olubunmi Opawole, her maiden name.
The former governor pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was granted N500million bail bond with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties, the court said, should be home and landed property owners in Ogun State. They are to submit to the court evidence of the property so owned with two passport photographs.
The international passport belojnging to the accused, the court added, should remain in custody of the EFCC while he should be “remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of the bail conditions”.
The matter has been adjourned till May 7 for hearing.
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