An Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan, on Tuesday, ruled against the bail applications filed by the former Head of Service of the state, Kudirat Adeleke, and 11 others, who are standing trial in a N5.6 billion pension fraud.
Justice Bolaji Yusuf, who gave the ruling, said counsels to the accused persons failed to convince the court to rule in their favour.
Also standing trial with Mrs. Adeleke are Muili Hakeem Aderemi, Iyabo Giwa, Adesina Jimoh Ayoade, Oguntayo Banji, Adebiyi Musediq Olasunmbo and Muili Adedamola.
Others are Adeduntan Johnson, Johnson Bosede, Kareem Rasheed, Olujimi Adebayo and Adewale Kehinde.
According to the charge, the accused persons withdrew the sums in bits from accounts belonging to the Oyo State Local Government Staff Pension Board in Fin Bank (now First City Monument Bank), Zenith Bank and Stanbic/IBTC bank between September 2010 and March 2011.
The accounts were opened to effect payment of the pension and gratuities of retired local government workers in the state.
Apart from few who wanted bail for their clients on health ground, all the accused persons harped on the fact that the offences for which they are standing trial are bailable and that they never jumped bail when granted in the past.
But while reviewing the documents presented to the court to argue the bail applications, the judge held that all the accused persons, who wanted to be granted bail on health ground, did not give any convincing evidence to prove that they are suffering from bad health that would warrant releasing them pending the determination of the substantive case.
Making reference to Mr. Aderemi, who was said to be hypertensive, the judge said the EFCC had confirmed in its affidavit that he was truly suffering from the ailment, but that he was given proper medical attention while in their custody.
She added that the accused person’s claim that he had kidney disease could not be substantiated in the evidence before the court.
On the position that they never jumped bail granted by the police, magistrate court and EFCC, the court ruled that such premise is not enough to exercise discretion in their favour.
According to her, though not punishable by death, the offence of conspiracy to obtain money through false pretense and forgery are classified as felony and attract jail terms of minimum of seven years and maximum 20 years without option of fine.
She therefore refused them bail, but opted for speedy trial as suggested by the EFCC.
While declaring the readiness of the court to give accelerated hearing, she urged for cooperation of the parties in the matter.
The case has been adjourned to December 12 and 13 for hearing when counsel would agree for further date for further hearing.