15th June, 2011
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Usman Nafada, have asked an Abuja High Court where they are facing trial for allegedly obtaining a loan of about N38 billion illegally to grant them bail.Â Their lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria, filed separate applications for them.
They urged the court to exercise its discretion in their favour and grant them bail since the offences for which they are standing trial are ordinarily bailable.
TheyÂ claimed that they remain innocent until their guilt had been proved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission, EFCC, which charged them to court.
The former Deputy Speaker, in his application, said that he was in a precarious health condition because he was involved in a fatal auto-accident last Saturday along Bauchi/Kano road, specifically at Gwarzo town.
According to him, the accident claimed the lives ofÂ seven people.Â Nafada also said that he needed time and opportunity to liaise with his lawyers and prepare his defence to the charges and that he had never been tried for any criminal offence in the past.Â He also said he would not jump bail if admitted to bail.
Bankole who had earlier been granted bail by a Federal High Court, said that he was ready to face trial and prove his innocence before the court.
Bankole and Nafada were accused of committing criminal breach of trust when they allegedly conspired between themselves to approve the allowances and running cost of members of the House of Representatives in violation of the approved Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009.Â Â They were also accused of obtaining various loans totalling about N38 billionÂ in contravention of the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under Section 315 of the same Penal Code Act.
The EFCC accused them of using the House of Reps accounts with the United Bank for Africa and and First Bank to obtain loans in a dishonest manner.Their bail application will be heard on Thursday.
ByÂ Nnamdi Felix/Abuja