Suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has finally been taken to Federal High Court in Lagos today, July 25. This was even as the court granted him N20 Million bail, shifting the trial proper to November 14, 2023.
He was charged with possession of a gun and ammunition without a licence by the Department of State Services (DSS) after being detained for over a month now.
The secret police had picked him up at his Lagos residence and flew him to Abuja.
Meanwhile, Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High in Lagos has admitted Emefiele to bail in the sum of N20million and adjourned his trial to November 14.
Emefiele is standing trial on a two-counts charge bordering on possession of a single barrel shot gun, as well as possession of123 rounds of live ammunition without licences
At the court today, July 25, Emefiele pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After his plea, defence counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) who led four other senior advocates, informed the court of a bail application filed on behalf of the defendant.
Dedence counsel told the court that same had been served on the prosecution, adding that there is a stamp of the office of the Attorney General as proof.
But the prosecutor, Mrs. N.B Jones, objected to the bail application on the grounds that she had not been served with a copy of the application.
She informed the court that her office had been on the look out for a possible bail application of the defendant but had seen none.
She added that since she has just been aware of the application in court, she then requires time to respond by way of affidavit, since facts have been deposed.
She said that since there is no sitting Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the moment, the defence could not have effectively served same.
But defence counsel told the court that the prosecutor had no excuse not to proceed today in response of the bail application as same had been duly served on prosecution’s office.
He argued that the office of the AGF is a creation of statute, and so cannot exist in a vacuum.
In a short ruling the court agreed with the submission of defence counsel, and urged him to move the defendant’s bail application.
Moving the application, defence counsel urged the court to admit the defendant to bail as he is not a flight risk being, a reputable former Governor of CBN.
He told the court that the defendant had been kept in custody for long and had lost so much weight and so, requires medical attention.
Defence also informed the court that the defendant will be available to stand trial , adding that assuming the prosexutor had produced a witness, the defence would have been ready to proceed.
He therefore, urged the court to grant the defendant bail.
In response, the prosecutor informed the court that she wss opposed to the bail application of the defendant as he was a flight risk
She told the court that the defendant had refused to submit his international passport which indicates such flight risk
Besides, she also told the court that being a very influencial citizen of Nigeria, the defendant could also interfere with the case and evidences intended to be led by prosecution.
She urged the court to refuse bail
In his rulling, Justice Oweibo agreed with the submission of the defence counsel on the grounds that the offence for which the defendant is charged is bailable.
The court held that bail can only be denied where any of the circumstances set out in section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, is established.
The court held that the prosecution has not furnished such circumstances before the court.
The court consequently, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.
The court held that the surety must depose to an affidavit of means. and have a landed property .
He urged that the defendant be remanded in custody of the correctional service pending perfection of bail.
In the charge, the prosecutor, told the court that the defendant who resides at No 8 Colorado street in Maitama Abuja, committed the offence on June 15, at No. 3b Iru close, Ikoyi Lagos.
He was alleged to have in his possession a single barrel shot (Jojeff Magnum 8371) without licence.
The defendant was also alleged to have in his possession, 123 rounds of live ammunition cartridges, without licence.
The offence contravenes the provisions of sections 4 and 8 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Law of the Federation, 2004.