A federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted the immediate past Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Winifred Oyo-Ita, a NI00 million bail in the N570 million fraud suit initiated against her and eight others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They were arraigned on Monday before Federal High Court, Abuja presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo.
Oyo-Ita and the other eight defendants are standing trial for an 18-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.
They are being prosecuted for N570 million allegedly revolving around corruption, fraud, estacodes and duty travel allowances (DTAs) for journeys either not undertaken or not in existence.
Others arraigned along with her are Frontline Ace Global Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Limited; Garba Umar and his companies: Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments Limited.
The rest were Ubong Okon Effiok with his companies, U & U Global Services Limited; and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.
When the 18 charges were read, the defendants all pleaded not guilty to the offences.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, M.S. Abubakar, told the court that he was fully aware of the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, and therefore urged the court to place stringent bail terms and conditions that would not undermine the bail system.
But lawyers to the defendants, Paul Erokoro, SAN; A.C Ananukwa; Ebuka Nwaeze and Okechukwu Ajunwa, applied for less stringent bail in the light of the scourge.
In his ruling, the judge granted the former HoCSF bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum. One of them, he said, must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 17 in the civil service.
The sureties, Justice Taiwo added, must be residents of Abuja while one of them must be owner of property worth N100 million in the FCT as well as depose to affidavit of means and attach it to the affidavit.
Also, the judge ruled that the international passport of the first defendant should be deposited with the Court Registrar.
The fourth and seventh defendants were however granted bail in the sum of N50 million each and two sureties in like sum.