A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday granted bail on self-recognition to Stephen Oronsaye, a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, charged with N1.9bn money laundering.
Oronsaye was arraigned on a 24-count charge on July 13 with one Osarenkhoe Afe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged crime.
The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, had released Oronsaye to go home on personal recognition but ordered him to return to court on July 21 for hearing on his bail application.
Delivering ruling on the bail application, the judge granted the application as prayed by his counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN).
“The first accused motion on notice filed on July 13 by learned counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), his layer, is hereby, granted as prayed. He is therefore granted bail in self-recognition,’’ Kolawole ordered.
He, however, granted bail to Oronsaye’s co-accused, Osarenkhoe Afe, in the sum of N50m with two sureties, one of whom must not be less than Grade Level 16 in either federal or state government establishments.
Afe is the Managing Director of Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, a company named as the third accused in the 24 counts preferred against them.
The judge also ruled that one of Afe’s sureties must have property worth N75m within Abuja and produce evidence of tax clearance over the last three years.
He ordered that both Oronsaye and Afe must deposit their passports and other travel documents with the court registrar.
The judge also ordered that in the event that Afe is unable to meet the bail conditions by midnight on Wednesday, he should be re-arrested and remanded in Kuje prison in Abuja.
The accused had both pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them by EFCC.
Oronsaye is accused of awarding a biometric data capture contract worth N63 million to Innovative Solutions and Projects Ltd, without due process.
In the Charge No: FHC/CR/297/15, others accused alongside Oronsaye are Osarenkhoe Afe, (who was docked with Oronsaye), Frederick Hamilton and Global Services Limited.
Most of the alleged offences committed were also said to have involved a former Deputy Director, Finance, in the office of the Head of Service, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina.
The commission said the accused conspired to disguise the original nature of proceeds from acts of illegality.
The EFCC argued that the contract served as a means by which three individuals and five companies got more than N700 million.
The EFCC further submitted that there were other companies, which had no contract to participate in the biometric data capture awarded to Innovative Solutions and Projects Ltd, but were paid by the accused.
These included Frederick Hamilton Global Services Ltd, which received about N119 million; Xangee Technologies, N153 million; Fatidek Ventures, N30 million, and Obanlado Enterprises, N96 million, among others.
These alleged offences contravened Section 14 (1) (b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2004 and Section1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act, 2006.
The said offences are punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
Justice Kolawole adjourned the case until October 5 for trial of the accused.