Governor Ayodele Fayose can now sleep in the comfort of his home after spending a week plus in the net EFCC Custody.The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday granted former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose N50m bail with one surety in like sum. Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ruled on his bail application following his arraignment on Monday for alleged money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Fayose for allegedly receiving and using N1.2billion and $5million stolen funds. His lawyer, former Attorney-General of the Federation Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), urged the court to grant the former governor bail on self-cognisance as a former governor. According to him, there was a presumption of innocence of an accused until guilt is established. Besides, he said the former governor was very eager to see the conclusion of the case and so would not jump bail.
Agabi told the court that Fayose willfully submitted himself to the EFCC immediately after leaving office as governor, which shows his readiness to face the charge. He said: “We have before your Lordship a bail application. It is supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit and a written address in support of our motion. We urge your Lordship to grant our application. “We agree that bail is totally at the discretion of court and urge your Lordship to grant it. The prosecution has filed a counter affidavit but the law allows for presumption of innocence.
“Opposition by the prosecution cannot take away the discretionary power of your Lordship. “The defendant reported to the EFCC the day after he left office as a governor. I urge your Lordship to grant him bail on self-cognisance.
“I assure your Lordship that he will not jump bail; he won’t run away.”But prosecuting counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) opposed the bail application. He informed the court about a counter affidavit in opposition to the bail motion, adding that although bail is a constitutional right, there were limitations.
“The issue of presumption of innocence has to do with trial and for now, no one is saying he is guilty,” he said. Jacobs opposed the application for bail on self-cognizance on the grounds that being a former governor was not a yardstick for being granted bail on liberal terms. According to him, intelligence reports revealed that the defendant would interfere with witnesses and proceedings, and may jump bail if granted bail.
He urged the court to refuse bail, adding that Fayose allegedly reported at the EFCC office with thugs. “Self-cognizance should not be for special people and office. If a poor man cannot be admitted to bail on self-cognizance, then it should not apply to anyone else.
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