Justice Akintayo Aluko of a Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed the bail motion of a chartered accountant, Omafume Augustina Ayinuola, who is standing trial over allegation of fraud to the tune of N1.07 billion and $975, 102.58.
The judge took the decision on the reason that the accountant is a ‘flight risk’.
Ayinuola is being prosecuted alongside her mother, Lydia Abosede Ehrievuyere and their company, Patridia Resources Limited, on a 15-count-charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, forgery and fraud, by the police. The duo were dragged before Justice Aluko on August 16, 2023.
Consequently, the defendants’ lawyer, J. O. Oladeji, filed and moved their bail motion and urged the court to admit his clients to bail in the most liberal terms.
In asking the court to grant his clients’ motion for bail, Oladeji notified the court that they are first-time offenders and that they have credible sureties to take them on bail.
However, the prosecutor, Morufu Animashaun, urged the court to refuse the bail motion on the grounds that it took the police extra work to get them arrested and arraigned before the court.
Specifically, Animashahun in his counter-affidavit to the bail motion told the court how the accountant perjured (to lie on oath), in securing another international passport to escape prosecution.
The prosecutor told the court that the accountant had told the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) that she lost her travelling passport in an affidavit, whereas, the passport was with the police as part of her administrative bail conditions.
He therefore urged the court to refuse the defendants’ bail motion alleging that they will never appear in court for prosecution.
In his ruling, Justice Aluko agreed with the prosecutor’s submission and held that there is a high possibility that the first defendant, if granted bail, will not appear in court for trial.
Justice Aluko, however, granted bail to the second defendant in the sum of N500 million with two sureties in like sum.
The judge held that one of the sureties must be a landed owner within the court’s jurisdiction, and that the second surety must be a Grade Level 14 and above officer.
Justice Aluko also issued a directive that the second defendant and the sureties must deposit two copies of their passport photograph, adding that the defendant must deposit her international passport with the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR), while the verification of the bail terms should be done by the court’s register and the prosecutor.
While ordering that the case file be returned to the admin. judge for reassignment and further date, Justice Aluko held that the chartered accountant be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), until the determination of the charge.
The court also directed that her mother be remanded until the perfection of the bail terms.
Upon the defendants’ arraignment, the prosecutor alleged that they perfected the offence between 2017 and 2021, at Trailer Park, Agbara, Lagos.
He further informed the court that the defendants committed the alleged fraud against some companies, which includes Oritsetimeyin Logistics Limited, PUO Assets Limited, Resolution Capital Limited, Pine Petosan Limited, Grace Capital Limited, RsL International Limited, RsL Ventures Capital Limited, Grace & Mercy Capital Limited, and Grace Assets Limited.
Animashaun equally informed Justice Aluko that the funds allegedly stolen by the defendants were meant for the purchase and supplies of consumables for the office of the companies listed above.
In arguing that the first defendant, while working with the companies listed, used her position to fraudulently convert various sums of money amounting to N1, 072, 254 411 and $975, 102.58, the prosecutor also revealed that the second defendant and her company, Abosede Ehrievuyere and Patridia Resources Limited, concealed the origin of the funds, which they received from the first defendant (Ayinuola).
The prosecutor equally insisted before the judge that the second defendant (Ehrievuyere), used parts of the alleged illicit funds to purchase and develop her family House located at 14, Irawodidia Street, Obadore, off LASU Road, Igando, Lagos.
According to the prosecutor, the alleged offence contravenes Sections 8(a); 7 (1) (b)(i); 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, and is punishable under Sections 1 (3) and 7 (2)(b) of the same Act.