Lawyers to former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Alhaji Bala Mohammed have kicked against the continued detention of the former Minister by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
It will be recalled that the former FCT Minister was again whisked away from his residence on the 2nd of May, 2017 and since then has been detained at the EFCC custody, despite declarations by an FCT High Court which had granted him bail on the 29th of November, 2016, for the same offense.
In a letter addressed to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, dated 5th May, 2017, Counsel to the former FCT Minister, Chief Christ Uche, SAN, called on the Agency to release him on bail, saying that there was no justification for his detention following his arrest since 2nd May, 2017.
Bala’s Counsel are also contemplating filing a contempt of Court case against the EFCC for violating the order by the FCT High Court for his release on bail.
The former FCT Minister was re- arrested on the May 2nd, for the same offense for which he was initially arrested and detained for about 42 days from 24th October to 29th of November, 2016, before he was granted bail by an Abuja High Court.
Senator Bala’s Counsel noted that their client is already on court bail and EFCC administrative bail on the charges for which he was rearrested, arguing that their client has not violated his bail conditions, since he had maintained regular visits to the EFCC headquarters as was stipulated in the bail conditions.
According to Chief Uche,” the offense for which he was rearrested is also a bailable offense” adding that “there is no legal or constitutional basis for his continuous detention while the EFCC is already prosecuting the case”
“ You will recall that you had arrested and detained our client from 24th October, 2016 till the 29th of November , 2016 without bail or arraigning him before a court of law. It is on record that a High Count of the Federal Capital Territory granted him bail while in your custody. .You further rushed him to court in November 2016, but you withdrew the charges same day. Our client was eventually released and has been on bail granted by the court pursuant to the enforcement of his fundamental rights”
Senator Bala’s Counsel noted that despite filling new charges against their client on the 4th of May, 2017, by the prosecutors, before the FCT High Court, ( charge no. Cr/ 177/17) Senator Bala has remained in the custody of the EFCC, even when no date has been fixed for his arraignment
Chief Uche who also reminded the EFCC that the former FCT Minister has never defaulted on his bail conditions, stated that “ It will be recall that our client has been reporting every week to your office since his release in November , 2016. Even though your officials have stated that he was on your administrative bail, notwithstanding the court bail( which is doubtful), yet he has always made himself available. You are still keeping his international passport and have refused to release same to him despite his application requesting for the release to enable him travel on pressing health grounds backed up with medical documents.”
Bala’s Counsel who noted that no date has been fixed for his arraignment, added that their client “cannot be detained indefinitely, waiting for an unknown court date”
They are therefore asking the EFCC to facilitate his release Senator Bala on bail, failure of which may compel them to commence a proceeding for a contempt of court case against the EFCC since according to them” there is no legal or Constitutional basis for his current detention.”