Money laundering: Jonathan’s cousin, wife get N1billion bail

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday admitted former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Azibaola Robert, and his wife, Stella, to bail in the sum of N500 million each.

The Roberts were arraigned on Tuesday on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering of 40 million dollars.

The money was alleged to have been paid into their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had listened to arguments from both parties on Tuesday as to why bail should or should not be granted.

The prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, had argued that the defendants should not be granted bail and that the court should rather order an accelerated hearing of the case.

Defence counsel, Chris Uche, however, urged the court to grant them bail since the offences for which they were standing trial were bailable.

Justice Dimgba, in his ruling, held that there was no material evidence before the court to show that Robert or his wife would jump bail or frustrate their trial.

He said that the “Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, enjoins that the bail conditions shall not be excessive.

“All things considered, I grant the defendants bail on the following terms: the defendants are admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million each and two sureties in like sum.

“The sureties shall, in turn, enter a bail bond of the sum of N500 million; the sureties must be owners of property in Asokoro or Maitama District of Abuja,” Justice Dimgba said.

The judge also said that the defendants would remain in prison custody until their bail conditions were met.

The commencement of hearing in the case was adjourned till June 28, July 4 and July 5.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which arrested Azibaola, in March, on Friday, May 27 denied media reports that Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an FCT High Court accused it of illegally holding the suspect in custody.