The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, and his erstwhile Deputy, Hon. Usman Nafada, yesterday met the bail conditions imposed on them by Justice Suleiman Belgore of an Abuja High Court.
The prosecuting Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had brought Bankole and Nafada from its custody to the court at about 4.30pm just as the duo perfected the bail conditions and left the premises of the court at about 5pm.
The court had granted Bankole and Nafada bail on Thursday in the sum of N50 million with two sureties. It, however, added that the two sureties must be civil servants who must not be below the rank of a permanent secretary and resident in the Federal Capital Territory.
Confirming the freedom of their clients, one of their lawyers, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), said: “The bail conditions have been met and satisfied by the two accused persons.
“The four permanent secretaries standing as sureties have signed their papers just as the court has been satisfied and they have left the EFCC custody for their homes”.
Also confirming the development, Bankole’s lawyer Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), said, “We have perfected the bail conditions at the Federal High Court, Abuja and there is no reason to hold them again”.
As for Bankole, it was a case of scaling two hurdles at the same time as he had also fulfilled his bail condition before a Federal High Court in Abuja where he is standing trial over another criminal charge where he was accused of allegedly inflating contracts in the purchase of some cars, television sets, and computer accessories running to N894 million.
The accused had filed an application for the variation of the bail conditions before Justice Belgore on the grounds that it would be difficult for them to perfect the bail conditions.
They added that permanent secretaries are employees of the federal government whose agency, EFCC, is prosecuting their clients.
The accused had also in the application expressed fears that attempts to secure permanent secretaries as sureties for them would be an “onerous” task since they would not want to risk their jobs or careers in the service.
In the alternative, the accused had urged the court to allow them produce former ministers, senators and other categories of distinguished personalities to perfect the bail conditions.
But with the perfection of the bail conditions, the accused had through Oyetibo, told journalists at the premises of the Abuja High Court yesterday; that they would no longer pursue the application for variation of bail conditions.
He added that his clients had “forfeited” the said application. When asked if they would withdraw it, he replied that they would no longer be “pursuing it’” on the grounds that they did not need it again.
But our correspondent reports that at the court premises, scores of friends of Bankole and Nafada, including members of the House were seen displaying solidarity with the accused.
When the accused met bail conditions and were asked by the court to go home, there were jubilations and hugging among admirers of the accused.
Some of the dignitaries include his former aide, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District, Hon. Saleh Minjibir, Prof. Kabir Mato, Head of Political Science Department, University of Abuja, his former aides and a host of relations and associates.
Bankole, who wore his usual white caftan with a white cap to match was full of smiles for the first time after he was brought to court.
Nafada was also wearing a navy-blue caftan with a red cap just as he was elated with the new development.
The accused had been arraigned before an Abuja High Court for alleged N37 billion fraud while serving as speaker and deputy speaker of the House.
They were accused of making approvals and increasing allowances of the members of the House without approval from the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).