Court Grants Agunloye N50m Bail Over $6b Mambilla Contract

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo has granted bail of N50 million to former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye.

Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie, in a ruling on Thursday, January 11, ordered Agunloye to produce two sureties who must be “reputable,” and be “people of means” residents within the FCT.

Justice Onwuegbuzie added that the sureties must have property worth N300m within the court’s jurisdiction, with a certificate of occupancy (C of O) that must be verified by officials of the court.

The defendant, the judge said, must deposit his travel documents with the court.

The ruling was on a motion for bail filed for Agunloye and argued by his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe (SAN).

Agunloye was arraigned on Wednesday on a 7-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He is among others, accused of accepting bribes, engaging in forgery, disobedience to presidential directives and conspiracy.

The ex-minister, who is the sole defendant in the charge marked: CR/617/2023 was said to have conspired with Leno Adesanya (now at large) of Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL) in allegedly committing the said offences.

The defendant was accused of receiving a bribe totalling about N5.2million (N5,221,000.00) from Adesanya and SPTCL in relation to the award of the contract for the construction of 3960 megawatts Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Station in favour of SPTCL while in office in 2003.

He pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him on Wednesday.

Arguing the motion for bail on Thursday, Adedipe prayed to the court to admit his client to bail on self-recognition.

He argued that, as against the impression created by the prosecution, his client was not a flight risk.

Adedipe added that should the court insist on granting his client conditional bail, he should not be required to produce a public servant as a surety.

He said the misconception about bail and the mischief referred to by the prosecution has been cured by the provision of Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

Adedipe noted that, by the provision, “once a defendant is admitted to bail, even if he absconds, the trial will continue and he will be convicted where necessary.”

Prosecuting lawyer, Abba Mohammed objected to the defendant’s request for bail, arguing that Agunloye may not make himself available to stand trial.