Court Grants Accused Persons Bail Before Taking Plea

It was a surprise package for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission during the arraignment of Angela Uwakwem, Emmanuel Ajayi and his company, Swiss Biostadt Limited, when the court said that they could be granted bail even before their plea were taken.
Justice Florence Duruoha Igwe of the Imo State High court Owerri in her wisdom granted the accused persons bail without first taking their plea.
The defence counsel, Chukwuma Ekomaru (SAN), had argued that the accused persons cannot take their plea until the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court is determined, which the court granted.
In a statement by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Judge bought the argument and granted the accused bail.
The spokesman said the prosecuting counsel, Mainforce Ekwu had argued that the correct position of the law was that the plea of the accused persons be taken before the application for bail can be considered, and only then can the objection to quash the charges for lack of jurisdiction be heard.
But Justice Igwe ruled in favour of the accused.
“I am minded to consider the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court before taking the plea of the accused persons, and will also take the accused motion for bail before their arraignment and plea,” the Judge said.
In view of the ruling, Ekomaru (SAN), and Ugeh S. Ogidi, counsel for the first and second accused respectively, moved their motions for bail for the accused persons.
The court granted the accused persons bail, and ruled that each of the accused produce one surety each, with landed property in Owerri and evidence of two years tax clearance, and must each enter a bond of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Naira only).
Justice Igwe then adjourned to January 24, 2017, to consider the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Uwakwem is in court for awarding several inflated contracts to a company called Swiss Biostatd Limited, belonging to the second accused Ajayi.

Author: News Editor

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