An Abuja High Court on Tuesday granted bail to the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Abubakar Kigo and five others.
Kigo was charged alongside Esai Abubakar, Ahmed Wada, John Yusufu, Veronica Onyegbula and Sani Zirra for alleged complicity in the illegal diversion of N32.8 billion from the Nigeria Police Pension funds.
They were earlier arraigned on a 16-count charge on March 29.
Specifically, the EFCC told the court that the accused perfected the alleged fraud in Abuja between January 2009 and June 2011.
The commission alleged that the accused conspired and sequentially withdrew monies from the Police pension funds in an account domiciled at First Bank of Nigeria and shared it amongst themselves.
According to the EFCC, the offence borders on conspiracy, fraud and criminal breach of trust.
It said the offence was punishable under Sections 97, 315, 115 (ii), 119 and 309 of the Penal Code.
Delivering ruling on their consolidated bail application, Justice Mohammed Talba, granted the six accused bail in the sum of N10 million each with two sureties in like sum.
Talba said that the sureties must not be below Grade Level 14 in the Federal Civil Service.
The Judge, who said that the sureties must reside in Abuja, also ordered that the international traveling documents of the accused should remain with the EFCC until further notice.
He further held that nothing in the counter-affidavit of the prosecution suggested that the accused at any time resisted any invitation by the EFCC throughout the investigations.
Earlier, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), counsel to Kigo (First accused), prayed the court to grant the accused bail.
He said that the accused was still presumed innocent until pronounced guilty and allayed the fears of the court on whether he would jump bail.
Awomolo assured that the accused would not jump bail but would be available in court for trial and prayed the court to grant him bail on liberal terms.
Counsel to Abubakar, Wada, Yusufu, Onyegbula and Zirra, (2nd-6th accused), Mr John Egwuonwu, also urged the Judge to admit the accused to bail.
Egwuonwu said that admitting an accused to bail was at the discretion of the court.
But in a counter-motion, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), opposed the bail application, saying that there was nothing before Justice Talba to show that the accused would not jump bail.
He also urged the court to take judicial notice of the nature of the offence committed by the accused before granting them bail.
According to Jacobs, each charge attracts 14 years’ imprisonment.
Jacobs also assured the court that the EFCC was ready to open its case.
Justice Talba had while reviewing the arguments of the defense and the prosecution, observed that bail before trial safeguards the presumption of innocence of an accused.
Talba adjourned the case to May 28 for trial.