Court Grants Businessman N84m Bail, Lawyer Claims Intimidation, Harassment

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Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Lagos has granted bail to Nigerian-Canadian businessman, Edrian Ididia Osagie, who is held by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the sum of N85 million with one surety in like sum.

Ruling in a bail application marked FHC/L/CS/1742/2021, filed and moved by his counsel, Osasu Isibor with G. U. Okoli from the law firm of Robert Ohuoba & Co., the judge held that the surety is to either provide a house whose value is not less than N85 Million or provide a Bank Guarantee of not less than N85 Million.

“Upon reading the affidavit in support and written address dated and filed December 10, 2021, in the Federal High Court Registry, sworn to by Mr. Micheal Osigbeme, Male, Christian, Business man and Nigerian Citizen of No. 4, Akanbi Danmole Street, Off Ribadu Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and after hearing Osasu Isibor for the applicant with G. U. Okoli move in terms of the application, it is hereby ordered:

“Bail is granted to the applicant in the sum of N85 million with one surety in like sum.

“The applicant’s travel documents are to be deposited in Court Registry pending his proper arraignment,” the judge held on December 31, 2021, reprimanding the EFCC for detaining him for over two months without trial.

According to his lawyers, the applicant, a Canadian resident, was held by the EFCC following his arrival in Nigeria for a function based on a petition written against him by his business partners, although they were on the verge of resolving the conflict amicably as friends and business partners.

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“It was a business transaction that didn’t go well. The complainants approached him to help them buy cars from Canada. This is not the first time he helped them to buy cars.

“But due to insurance issues and the COVID-19 locked down all over the world, he could not deliver the cars. Hence they reported him to the EFCC.

“He was locked up for over two months without being charged to court, consequent upon which we filed the application for his bail. This was graciously granted by the trial court, he met the bail conditions, but the EFCC still didn’t release him,” they claimed, adding that they (EFCC) rather laid siege at the court and rearrested him for a trial at the State High Court.

Meanwhile, one of his defence counsels has alleged intimidation and harassment of his client by the EFCC, saying that Ididia is not a fraudster as claimed by the anti graft agency.

This followed the arraignment of Ididia before a Lagos Special Offences Court over the alleged N84 million fraud. Ididia is facing a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretence.

He was alleged to have defrauded one David Mark Umeh, to the tune of N84 million. Speaking with the newsmen, his counsel, Victor Chinedu of Graylaw Partners, declared his client’s arrest and arraignment as unjust and abuse of power.

He stated that the complainant in the matter, Umeh instead of addressing his civil wrong through the courts, chose to use EFCC as a tool of intimidation and harassment against his client.

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Chinedu narrated how his client was allegedly kept in EFCC custody for about two months and even denied him administrative bail.

“Our client, having honoured the invitation of the EFCC by walking into their office on November 4, 2021, has been unjustly kept in custody since then. He was denied administratively bail severally having fulfilled all requirements requested by the commission without being charged to court.

“After so much power muscling and tussle and incessant disobedience of the order of Justice Osiagor, a contempt proceeding was filed and served on the EFCC on January 24, 2022,” he stated.

The Guardian

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