The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Friday June 1st, 2012 arraigned one Sylvanus Enonche Okoh alias Anthony Nwabueze before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on an eight count charge bordering on fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, obtaining under false pretence and forgery to the tune of sixteen million naira.
Prosecution counsel, Deborah Ademu-eteh had sought leave of the court for the charges to be read to the accused person and his plea taken. This was granted. After Okoh pleaded not guilty to all the eight count charge, Ademu-eteh prayed the court to remand him in prison custody and fix a date for the commencement of trial.
Defense counsel, Obinna Ugwu then applied for bail on behalf of his client, citing Section 36 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); and Sections 341 (2) a, b, & c of the Criminal Procedure Code.
He told the court that bail was solely at the discretion of the court and therefore urged that it should be exercised judicially and judiciously; taking into cognizance the fact that the accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Ademu-eteh however opposed the bail application, citing Sections 35 subsection 1 (c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and section 341 (1) of the Criminal Procedure code which provide that bail should be denied in alleged offences that carry a sentence of more than 3 years imprisonment.
She further informed the court that the accused is a serial offender who is presently before Justice Kutigi of the FCT High Court under similar charges in a different matter; which implies that if he is granted bail there is the likelihood of him committing another crime.
Ademu-eteh also prayed the court to look into the proof of evidence before it and take cognizance of the overwhelming facts therein; and deny the accused person bail while granting accelerated hearing.
In his ruling, Justice Oniyangi observed that because the accused person seems to be a aerial offender with another similar case pending before the FCT High Court, with several others under investigation; he is inclined to deny the accused person bail.
He directed that the accused be remanded in Kuje prison while adjourning the matter to June 12th, 2012 for commencement of trial.
Media & Publicity Unit
1st June, 2012.