Alleged N150m Bribe: Court Grants Suspect N500m Bail

An Abuja High Court sitting Abuja has granted N500million bail to a Lagos-based businessman, Dr. Akintoye Akindele, who was accused of offering the sum of N150m to men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as bribe.

Trial Justice Hamza Muazu okayed the release of the defendant on bail, after he dismissed an application by the NPF to further retain him in its custody.

Police had through its lawyer, Mr. Simon Lough, SAN, prayed the court to allow the defendant, who is facing a one-count bribery charge, to remain in its custody, pending the conclusion of its on-going investigations.

It made the application after the defendant who had been in detention for weeks, pleaded not guilty to the charge that was read to him in the open court on Tuesday.

Specifically, the prosecution, in the charge marked: CR/595/2023, which was filed in the name of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) alleged that the defendant offered to bribe policemen that were investigating a case of diversion of funds that was brought against him.

Police told the court that the defendant had already perfected his plans to escape from the country.

The charge against the defendant, read: “That you Akintoye Akindele, male (49 years), MD/CEO of Duport Midstream Company Limited of D2 Mambilla Close Osborne Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos between 5th and 9th August 2023 in Abuja, while being investigated by SP Ibrahim Ezekiel Sini and his team on a petition submitted to the Inspector-General of Police FIB by Summit Oil International Limited on allegation of diversion of the sum of $5,636,397.01 and N73,543,763.25, you offered gratification of N150,000,000.00 and made part payment of N50,000,000.00 to SP Ibrahim Sini, a public servant in circumstance and for the purpose of allowing you to escape abroad and to write a report in your favour.”

The prosecution maintained that the defendant committed an offence that is punishable under Section 118 of the Penal Code Law.

However, following the plea of innocence by the defendant, his lawyer, Mr. Henry Eni-Otu, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending the determination of the case against him.

The defence lawyer contended that the allegation the police brought against his client contained a bailable offence.

In his ruling, trial Justice Muazu agreed with the defence lawyer that the charge was not sufficient to warrant the court to deny the defendant bail.

Consequently, aside from granting the defendant bail to the tune of N500m with two sureties in like sum, the court stressed that one of the sureties must not only be resident in Abuja, but must be an owner of a landed property that is within its jurisdiction.

Justice Muazu, who was sitting as the court’s vacation judge, further ordered
the defendant to surrender his international passport.

He held that since it would be impossible to conclude the case within the vacation period, the casefile would be returned to the Chief Judge of the court for reassignment.