A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday granted bail to each of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Roberts Azibaola, and his (Azibaola’s) wife, Stella, in the sum of N500m each.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba ordered in a ruling that each of the accused person’s bail was to be guaranteed by a surety each.
The judge had on Tuesday ordered the remand of the accused persons in prison shortly after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned them along with their company, One Plus Holding Limited.
The accused pleaded not guilty when the seven counts of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption were read to them on Wednesday.
They were accused of diverting $40m purportedly meant for the supply of tactical communication kits for Special Forces.
The money was allegedly transferred from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria to the domiciliary account of their company, One Plus Holding Limited.
The offence is said to be in contravention of Section 8(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
In his ruling on the bail application by the defendants on Wednesday, Justice Dimgba noted that the intention of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was for the court to grant bail without attaching excessive conditions.
He ruled, “All things considered, I grant the defendants bail on the following terms: The defendants are admitted to bail in the sum of N500m each. Two sureties in like sum which shall in turn enter a bail bond of the sum of N500m. The sureties must each be owners of property in Asokoro or Maitama District of Abuja.”
He held that the sureties must show evidence of payment of their income tax.
The judge ordered the defendants to be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.
The judge granted accelerated hearing of the case and adjourned till June 28 for commencement of trial.