Former Oyo State Head of Service, Mrs Kudirat Adeleke and eleven other accused persons who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for their involvement in a N5.6billion pension scam today lost their bid to regain freedom as an Oyo State High Court sitting in Ibadan refused their bail application.
Justice Bolaji Yusuf, in her ruling, turned down the pleas of all the counsel to the 12 defendants seeking bail for their clients on the ground that the offences for which they were arraigned were bailable. Rather, she ordered that their trial be accelerated. “This is a serious offence which attracts 7 to 20 years imprisonment without option of fine,” she said. She also faulted the claims of Mrs Adeleke who prayed the court to grant her bail to be able to attend to her “failing health”. According to the judge, “the applicant did not file anything to show that they denied her treatment, no medical report to show for her health condition and she had been represented by a senior counsel. The trial has started and will be accelerated”.
On claims made by some defence counsel that all the defendants had earlier been granted bail by a Magistrate court, Justice Yusuf said that, “ Mrs Adeleke and other accused persons had been granted bail by an Ibadan Magistrate court does not mean that they will be granted bail here. The situation before the court is different and there is proof of evidence before the court”.
Other defendants in the case who are mostly senior officers of the Oyo State Pension Board are: Muili Hakeem Aderemi,( executive secretary); Adedutan Johnson; Oguntayo Banji, ( former internal auditor); and Kareem Rasheed.
Others are: Muili Adedamola; Adesina Jimoh Ayoade, (former cashier); Adebiyi Olasumbo Musendia, (former Admin.Officer); Johnson Bosede; Iyabo Giwa,(former cashier), Adewale Kehinde and Olujinmi Adebayo.
They were arraigned on November 7, 2013 on charges bordering on conspiracy, stealing and criminal breach of trust.
Prosecuting counsel, Gbolahan Latona, had opposed bail for the defendants in view of the severity and enormity of charges preferred against them. He also prayed the court to consider the huge public interests generated by the case and “the pains and pangs of pensioners who would rather want the trial accelerated and concluded on time”.
Justice Yusuf adjourned the case to December 11 and 12, 2013 and ordered that the defendants be returned to Agodi prison, Ibadan.