Tuesday, January 19, 2016
OLISA METUH'S BAIL, JUSTICE ABANG SHOWS THE WAY.
Icheoku says Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja Division has just demonstrated the right course of action, the proper way, to do it when a government is wary of releasing an accused person on bail. Rather than an outright refusal to grant bail or the government descending into the sewer, stirring anarchy by refusing to comply with valid order of court granting bail, just make the conditions too stringent and very difficult, if not nearly impossible to perfect. The Judge in Olisa Metuh's bail application exactly just did that - he did the government one huge favor by literally denying him bail. His bail condition will ensure that Olisa Metuh is not going anywhere very soon, at least not so easily.
Ruling on Olisa Metuh's bail application, the judge said that he is favorably disposed to granting the accused bail since the offense is a bailable offense and in the eyes of the law the accused is presumed innocent until proved guilty. According to the judge, "the paramount thing was for the court to impose conditions that would compel the attendance of the accused for trial." Justice Abang then went on to grant Olisa Metuh bail in the sum of N400 million, to be physically deposited, two sureties each contributing two hundred million Naira.
In addition, the two sureties must each own landed property within the choice Maitama district of Abuja. The two sureties must also submit the Certificate of Occupancy to both properties to the Chief Registrar of the court for verification. The two sureties must also submit their three years tax clearance certificate, two recent passport photographs as well as affidavit of means. The judge then ordered Olisa Metuh to also surrender his international passport to the court's Chief Registrar. The judge finally ordered the prosecution to personally verify compliance of all the bail terms and conditions to ensure that all of them were fully and duly perfected. Icheoku says this is how it is done - give the accused near impossible conditions to perfecting a bail and see the magic he comes up with.
The government will be watching to see who that person is that will pony up his or her N200 million and deposit same pending the final resolution of the case. That person shall also produce his or her three years tax clearance certificate which will enable the government to investigate the legitimacy of their livelihood and source of wealth. This automatically defeats any crowd-funding or money laundering to meet the bail deposit sum. The sureties shall also deposit the CofO to their property in Maitama District Abuja; not just any property, but ones owned by them and located in Maitama. This will give the government the added opportunity to further investigate the individuals and their source of income and whether necessary taxes were paid in full on the Maitama property. Then plus two photographs.
So query, who would want to throw their hat in the ring in a fight with a charging incensed bull, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is raging mad at Nigerians for the near-blind loot perpetrated by just a few Nigerians including Olisa Metuh. By coming out to bail Olisa Metuh, what message will such surety be telegraphing to the president as well as Nigerians, that it is ok to loot or that he or she has so much resources that he or she can now go to battle with the president and his anti-corruption government? Icheoku does not know about you but these conditions are as good as it gets and tantamount to no bail at all, because they will be very difficult to perfect under the current tensed anti-corruption atmosphere in Nigeria.
But hey, lets see how it all pans out but Icheoku says this is the right way to not release anyone from custody; instead of the bungle that was President Muhammadu Buhari's refusal to comply with valid orders of courts which granted bail to Sambo Dasuki and Nnamdi Kanu. Such valid refusal to release on bail is surreptitiously done through the court, during pre-bail hearing and never by post-bail interventionist action. A very difficult to perfect bail condition is the key, period. This will take the wind out of the sail of rule of law activists as it will then be the accused defendant who could not perfect his bail terms and not necessarily the government disobeying court's order granting him bail. Our prediction, Olisa Metuh might be staying in Kuje prison for sometime, barring any miracle of intervention.