The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Muhammed Dele Belgore and a former minister, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a 5-count charge of conspiracy and possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N450, 000, 000. 000).
The defendants were alleged to have made a payment of Fifty Million Naira (N50, 000, 000. 00) to one Sheriff Shagaya and also taken possession of the sum of Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N450,000, 000. 000) without going through any financial institution.
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges preferred against them.
In view of their plea, counsel to the first defendant, Ebun Shofunde, (SAN) prayed the court to grant bail to his client on self recognizance.
“He is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and not likely to jump any bail; he has been faithful to the administrative bail granted him and will make sure to stand his trial”, he said.
In the same manner, counsel to the second defendant, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, (SAN) also prayed the court to grant his client bail on self recognizance. “He is a Professor of Political Science at the
University of Abuja and was once a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he submitted himself to the EFCC and never jumped theadministrative bail granted him”, he said.
Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC did not oppose bail but asked the court to grant the defendants bail in terms that will compel them tobe available for trial.
Justice Aikawa granted the defendants bail on self recognizance and ordered that their international passports be deposited with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court and must only be released on court order.
The matter was adjourned to February 23, 2017 for trial.