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Judicial confusion: Kogi Judge grants bail to a LG chairman he convicted

It was drama today, January 16, 2014, at the Federal High Court Lokoja, Kogi State as Justice I. E Ekwo granted bail to a former chairman of Adavi Local Government Council, Enesi Jimoh whom he had earlier convicted and sentenced to a six month imprisonment without option of  fine for criminal misappropriation of public funds.
Jimoh who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was found guilty by Justice Ekwo on November 13, 2013 of converting N7 million belonging to the Council for personal use. He was arraigned by the EFCC alongside one Samuel Abiodun Ojo, a Commissioner for Agriculture in March 31, 2010. Ojo was however discharged by the court after a no case submission filed by his counsel in June, 2012.

Upon his conviction, the former council boss, through his counsel Olu Agunbiade, filed an appeal seeking a review of his conviction. Agunbiade wrote to the prison authorities in Koton-Karfe demanding the health status of the accused person. On the strength of that letter, the prison authorities took the convict to a specialist hospital where he was allegedly diagnosed of lung cancer. Agunbiade also presented to the court a letter from the prison authorities, stating that the hospital do not have facilities to treat lung cancer. On the strength of these letters, counsel prayed the court to grant his client bail on health grounds

However, counsel to EFCC, Wahab Shittu vehemently opposed the application on the grounds that it would be tantamount to throwing the prison gate open to convicted persons who would want to use health issues to escape serving jail terms. Wahab also told the court that the presumption of innocence was no longer available to the convict having been convicted and sentenced.

While dismissing the application as incompetent, Shittu assured that the state will give adequate medical attention to the convict even if it means sending him abroad for treatment

However, in his ruling, Justice Ekwo granted the convict bail in the sum of N15million and one surety in like sum. The surety must be a responsible citizen and owner of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court which value shall not be below the bail sum. The original title deed shall be deposited at the court registry and the surety shall depose to an affidavit of means.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
16th January, 2014

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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