Bail: Ex-Works minister knows fate today in N75bn fraud case
BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA – Justice Bilkisu Aliyu of a Federal High Court in Abuja, will today, determine the merits of a bail application that was filed in court by the former Minister of works, Dr Hassan Muhammad Lawal, seeking to be released from Kuje Prisons where he has been for the past 3-weeks and six days.
The High Court had on May 11, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to remand him alongside his alleged accomplice, Dr Adeogba Godwin Ademola, in prison custody, pending the hearing and determination of their separate bail applications.
They are answering to a 23-count criminal charge preferred against them and six companies that were allegedly used to defraud the federal government to the tune of about N75.7 billion via fictitious contracts.
The ex-Minister had on May 12, instructed his lead counsel, Mr A.B Mahmood and M.A Magaji, to go and beg trial Justice Aliyu to release him on bail, saying he was suffering from kidney and cadio-vascular ailments that could result to death if not properly handled by his specialist doctors at the General Hospital Lagos and the Somali General Hospital.
He relied on the provisions of section 35(4) and 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and section 118(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act in urging the trial court to order his release.
In a 15-Paragraphed affidavit he attached to the application, the ex-minister through his lawyers averred that he has been highly traumatized by the unlawful nature of his arrest and detention, adding that he has not been able to make any call since the time
of his arrest.
Their bail plea was however opposed by the EFCC which maintained that it would prefer to have the accused persons behind bar, stressing that the proof of evidence against them was too weighty and was capable of inciting them to abscond from the country.
After listening to their legal arguments, Justice Bilkisu slated today for both their bail request and definite hearing on the substantive charges