Dr. Olu Agunloye
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$6bn power project: Reprieve as Obasanjo’s Power Minister, Olu Agunloye, gets N50m bail

Delivering his ruling, Justice Onwuegbuzie said the pendulum of the court swings in favour of granting bail to the defendant.

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Reprieve came for a former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr. Olu Agunloye, on Thursday as he was granted a N50 million bail by a Federal High Court, Apo, Abuja.

Ruling on his bail application, Justice Jude Onwuegbuzie said the two sureties also granted Agunloye must be “reputable” and “people of means” resident within the FCT.

Persecondnews reports that Agunloye was earlier arraigned on seven counts bordering on fraudulent award of a contract on Wednesday.

Agunloye, who served in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration from 1999 to 2003, is being quizzed in connection with the $6 billion Mambilla Hydropower project.

Obasanjo had accused him of fraudulently awarding the contract for the project without the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.

The judge had ordered his remand in Kuje Correctional Centre pending hearing and ruling on the bail application.

Moving the bail application on Thursday, the counsel to the former minister, Mr Adeola Adedipe (SAN), urged the court to grant him bail in self-recognisance or in liberal terms.

According to him, Argunloye is not a flight risk and the notion canvassed by the prosecution was “borne out of misconception and communication barrier”.

Adedipe appealed to the court not to order the use of a public servant as surety for Agunloye.

The Senior Advocate also argued that the apprehensive misconception about bail, and the mischief argued by the prosecution has been cured by Section 352( 4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

Under this provision, Adeola said: “Once a defendant is admitted to bail, even if he absconds, the trial will continue and he
will be convicted where necessary.”

However, the prosecution counsel opposed the bail application.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Onwuegbuzie said the pendulum of the court swings in favour of granting bail to the defendant.

He granted N50 million bail to the defendant and ordered him to produce two sureties in like sum.

He said: “The sureties must be “reputable” and “people of means” resident within the FCT.

“They must have properties worth N300 million with a Certificate of Occupancy that must be verifiable.

“They must submit copies of their identity card and photocopies of their international passports to the court.

“The defendant is to submit his passport to the court and must be present for hearing at all times.”

The case was adjourned to February 12, 2024 for trial.

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