Succour came the way of former governors Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia) and Saminu Turaki (Jigawa) this morning as a Federal High Court in Abuja granted them bail. Both former governors are currently standing trial for alleged money laundering and embezzlement of public funds. Ruling in Kalu’s application for bail, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako granted him bail in the sum of N100 million and two sureties in like sum. The two sureties, she directed, must be tax payers with evidence of payment for three consecutive years, paid as and when due.
The former governor is to submit all his travel documents to the court and report to the EFCC office in Abuja weekly.
The judge also ordered Kalu to submit three of his recent passport photographs. She adjourned commencement of trial till 9 October, 2007.
In Saminu Turaki’s case, the same judge granted him bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.
The sureties must be owners of property in Maitama or Asokoro districts in Abuja. They must also produce evidence of tax payment in the last three years.
Justice Nyako directed further that the sureties must submit the re-certified certificates of their landed property with the court.
She directed Turaki to submit his certificate of returns as a senator, issued to him by INEC, to the court.
In granting bail to Turaki, the judge observed that all the charges for which Turaki is standing trial, were ordinarily bailable offences, adding that in granting bail, there must be possibility that the accused would come and face his trial.
She said the EFCC has not advanced any reason that if granted bail, Turaki would commit more offence.
Though she agreed with the EFCC that the possession of dual or multiple citizenship by the accused might aid his escape from justice, she, however gave conditions on bail granted to take care of this.
The judge adjourned commencement of the trial till 16 October, 2007.
P.M.News, however, observed that the striking similarities in the conditions of bail granted both former governors are that they must swear to an affidavit concerning all the countries which citizenship they hold and submit their passports and travel documents to the court.
Present in court were the lead counsel to Kalu, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, SAN, counsel to Turaki, Olajide Ayodele, SAN and I.G. Gafai, for the EFCC.