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Gbenga Daniel Arraigned, Granted Bail on Stringent Conditions

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Justice Olarenwaju Mabekoje of Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta has adjourned to May 7, 2012 for hearing in the case brought against former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Daniel was re-arraigned on Monday April 16, 2012 by the EFCC on a 38 count charge which borders on misappropriation of fund amounting to over N200 million, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office while he held sway as governor of Ogun State.

The former governor who pleaded not guilty to  all the 38 counts when they were read to him was however granted bail by Justice Mabekoje in the sum of N500 million and two sureties in like sum. The sureties who are to have landed property in Ogun State are to deposit the title document of the property with the registrar of the court. Both Daniel and the sureties are to deposit two passport photographs with the court, while the defendant’s international passport is to remain in the custody of the EFCC.

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Justice Mabekoje gave his ruling after listening to the argument on the bail application from counsel on both sides. Tayo Oyetibo, SAN appearing for the accused persons, urged the court to admit his client to bail. Arguing in support of the application and backed by a 27 paragraph affidavit, Oyetibo told the court that the most important criteria for bail were the assurance that the defendant will be available in court for his trial. He added that baıl is a constitutional right of an accused person and as such should not be denied if defendant has shown that he would be available for trial.

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On the other hand, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs opposed the bail application on several grounds one of which is the safety of prosecution witnesses against the background of alleged fears that the defendant has a killer squad. He said the fact that a bail was granted by the court to the accused before does not mean that it will apply to the present application. He said even if the court eventually grants bail, it should be with a very tough condition. “We urge your Lordship to exercise your discretion in the interest of Justice. We oppose bail and if your Lordship will grant bail, it should be with stringent conditions.” Jacobs said

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