Court Grants Nollywood Producer Bail

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An Ikeja High Court in Lagos on Tuesday granted bail to popular Nollywood movie producer, Mr. Ifeanyi Onyeabor in the sum of N7.5 million with two sureties in like sum.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onyeabor was dragged before the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru for allegedly defrauding one Steve-James Nigeria Limited of N8.8 million.

Abiru in a short ruling on the bail application held that the two sureties who must be resident in Lagos must also be close relatives of the accused.

The sureties are also to have landed property in Lagos and must produce evidence of three years tax clearance payment to the Lagos State Government.

The judge also ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to verify the residential and business addresses of the sureties.

NAN recalls that the 40-year old movie producer at his arraignment on July 5, pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge preferred against him and was remanded in Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons.

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The EFCC had alleged that he collected a total sum of N8.8 million from Steve-James Nigeria Ltd. in Dec. 2008 for the purpose of producing two movies entitled: “Young Amazon” and “Tribes”.

In the charge sheet, the anti-graft agency claimed that Onyeabor, with intent to defraud, stole and fraudulently converted N1, 850,000 property of Steve-James Nigeria Ltd. entrusted to him for the production of the movies.

Other charges also explained how the accused had on different occasions allegedly received N1, 200,000; N950, 000; N3, 000,000; 1,200,000; N500, 000 and N100, 000 from the complainants.

The EFCC further alleged that Onyeabor, after collecting the money, failed to produce the movies and diverted the money for other personal use.

His alleged offences, according to the EFCC, contravene Section 390(9) of the Criminal Code, Cap. C.17, Vol. 2, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

NAN reports that the matter was adjourned to Oct.17 for commencement of trial.