Justice A. R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja has granted bail in the sum of N10 million to one Victor Ochala, who is standing trial on a 27-count charge of obtaining over N300 million by false pretence.
He was also accused of forgery by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is prosecuting him.
The judge also ordered the accused to provide two sureties in like sum. One of the sureties, he said, must have a landed property worth N10 million in Abuja or its environs, while second must be a civil servant not below rank of GL 08.
According to the judge, the sureties must also submit their recent passport photographs to the court while the defendant is to submit his international passport to the court and shall not travel until the determination of the case.
Ochola, allegedly, in connivance with one Dayo Jimo (now at large) fraudulently defrauded one Mohammed Jubril, under the pretext of purchasing some plots of land for the victim.
One of the counts reads:
“That you Victor Ochola, Dayo Jimoh (now at large) and others still at large sometime in January, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire among themselves to commit an unlawful act to wit: obtaining money by false pretence and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”
He was admitted to bail after two failed attempts by his lawyer, P. O. Okolo, SAN, to secure his bail.
Ochala was to be arraigned on June 22, 2015, but had remained elusive.
After several adjournments, the court, through a warrant ordered his arrest; an action that led to his eventual arraignment on February 10, 2016. He has since been remanded Medium Security Prisons on the orders of the court while his trial continued.
Moving his bail application, Okolo pleaded that, “the defendant needs access to his lawyers for the preparation of his defence”. He also urged with the court to admit the defendant to bail to enable him attend to his “worsening health conditions”.
Victor Ukagwu, counsel to EFCC, opposed the application on the grounds that, the facts deposed to in his affidavit had already been canvassed in the previous applications which fell flat. He went on to add that, “the defendant is in the habit of forging documents and the prosecution is investigating the letters attached to the counter affidavit.”
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse his application.
Justice Mohammed admitted the defendant to bail and adjourned to June 22, 2016 for continuation of trial.