Justice U. N. Agomoh of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on 18th October, 2012, granted a N2million (two million naira) bail with two sureties in like sum to Barr. E. B. Ukiri, ex NBA Vice President who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for Money Laundering and Fraud.
Ukiri who is alleged to have converted N35m judgement sum paid by the Central Bank of Nigeria to his client, one Samuel Onowighose, to his personal use, was docked on Monday October 15, 2012 on a three count charge. He was alleged to have used part of the money to acquire 150,000 units of First Bank of Nigeria Plc shares and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14 (1) (a) Of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
While ruling on the bail application, the Judge said that the two sureties must both be Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, and must be from among the team of lawyers representing the accused person in Court.
Counsel to EFCC Barr. A. I. Arogha, prayed the Court not to grant the accused person bail, as he argued that the accused person was granted administrative bail by the EFCC in 2007, with conditions which included the accused person reporting at the EFCC office, but that the accused person defaulted the bail condition and never showed up as contained in the bail bond. Arogha then submitted that the accused will jump bail if granted bail.
The lead counsel to the accused, A. G. Akpomudje, SAN, argued that the offence for which the accused was standing trial, was predicated on a non-existent allegation. According to him, the accused person only performed his legal duties and therefore prayed the Court to grant the accused person bail, as the offence was bailable. He further pleaded with the Court to consider the position of the accused as a senior member of the NBA and grant him bail on self recognition. He further promised to stake his legal wig and gown as he argued that the accused will not jump bail.
The Court then granted the accused person bail while adjourning proceedings to 29th November, 2012, for trial.
He was represented in court by five SAN and 36 lawyers. The five SANs were: A. G. Akpomudje, L. E. Nwosu, B. E. I. Nwofor, G. Akibor and S. T. Hons.
Ag Head, Media and Publicity
October 18, 2012