A former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, and two others, who were docked on Monday in Jos Federal High Court over alleged money laundering involving N450m, have been granted bail on self recognition.
Justice Musa Kurya granted them bail after they pleaded not guilty to charges against them.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mrs. Ochekpe along side Raymond Dabo, former PDP Chairman in Plateau, and Leo-Sunday Jatau, an evangelist and Coordinator of the President Goodluck Jonathan campaign in 2015, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
The Prosecuting counsel, A. Y. Manchata, told the court that sometimes in 2015, the sum of N450m was transferred from the account of the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison Diezeni-Madueke, to the account of one of the defendants, who allegedly withdrew and Laundered the miney.
However, the defence counsel, Sunday Odey, applied for the bail of the three accused persons, who he described as “people of high integrity”, pending their trial.
“My Lord, since my clients have pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge, I hereby apply for their bail on self-recognition.
He promised to stand as surety and produce them in court at the next adjourned date.
Responding, counsel to EFCC objected to the bail application, insisting that the accused should be remanded in prison custody considering the weight of the offence.
After listening to the arguments of the two lawyers, Kurya granted the defendants bail on self recognition.
The matter was adjourned to Feb. 13 and 14 for hearing.