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20 Oct 2017

Court Grants Bail To Benue Assembly Members,Kester Kyenge, Four Others Over Alleged N107bn

The Federal High Court in Makurdi, Benue State on Thursday granted bail to the member representing Logo State Constituency, Benue State House of Assembly (BNHA), Kester Kyenge and four others bail for N100 million each and sureties in like sum.
The five of them were remanded at Makurdi prison last week for their alleged involvement in the misappropriation of N107bn during the tenure of the erstwhile Governor of the State, Gabriel Suswam.
Forty-seven others, along with Suswam, were earlier indicted by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom, to probe Suswam’s eight-year tenure.
But INDEPENDENT gathered from sources within the PDP in the State that the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Michael Gusa, may have made efforts to embarrass the accused persons by persuading prison officials to ensure that the suspects came to court on Thursday in prison uniform.
It was however learnt that the prison officials were not persuaded by the Commissioner as they declined his request.
Asked to comment on the allegations the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Gusa described the allegations as false.
While the Commissioner told INDEPENDENT that the prison officials had their standards, he said he had nothing against the accused persons.
His words, “How can I do that? For what? Do I have anything personal with any of them? The police and prison authorities all know their rules of engagement and so I don’t have any authority over them. That’s a big lie!”
Those granted bail alongside Kyenge, are two former aides to Suswam, Terfa Bosua and Andrew Ayande as well as former Chairmen of Ado and Ukum Local Government Area (LGAs) of the state, David Sev-Av and Alex Ogaba respectively.
The presiding Judge, Justice Joseph Aneke, who granted the bail, stated that the accused persons have been on police administrative bail without trial and noted that even though the offence committed by the accused persons were bailable, they were weighty in nature.
According to the Judge, records available to him shows that the accused persons who had no previous criminal record were on administrative bail, an indication that they would not jump bail if granted same.
”I have unfettered discretion to grant bail to such accused persons in a matter like this, though the rules for bail has not been exhausted, but for the nature and gravity of the offence, their protection and medication, I admit them for bail on strenuous conditions,” Aneke observed.
He therefore granted bail to the accused persons in the sum of N100m each and sureties in like sum.
The judge ordered that each surety provided by the defendants must be a highly placed person in the society, must be a resident and have landed property in Makurdi, the state capital.
He maintained that the sureties must deposit the original copy(s) of the CoO of their landed properties and two recent passports and evidence of tax certificates.
Justice Aneke fixed November 14th, 2017 for further mentioning of the case. End.
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Item Reviewed: Court Grants Bail To Benue Assembly Members,Kester Kyenge, Four Others Over Alleged N107bn Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Link Naija