Son of Former Minister of the FCT, Shamsudeen Bala Mohammed has been granted N100million bail.
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, granted N100million bail to son of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Shamsudeen Bala Mohammed, who is facing money laundering charges.
The defendant was brought to court in handcuffs by prison officials. Trial Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had on Wednesday remanded Shamsudeen in Kuje Prison after he pleaded not guilty to a 15-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him.
However, the defendant, through his lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, begged the court to release him on bail pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.
The application was vehemently opposed by EFCC lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani, who alleged plot by the defendant to escape from the country once out of detention.
The prosecution told the court that the ex-Minister’s son blatantly refused to surrender his international passport to the EFCC. Ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Dimgba said he was minded to grant the plea considering that allegations against the defendant are bailable offences.
The court stressed that the defendant must produce two reasonable sureties to enter into N50m bail bond each, even as it fixed March 27 and 28 for commencement of trial.
Shamsudeen is facing trial alongside four firms- Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, which the EFCC said were used to launder over N1.1billion.
EFCC alleged that the 1st defendant, in a bid to conceal stolen funds at his disposal, resorted to acquisition of houses within the high brow areas in Abuja.
It told the court that Shamsudeen paid cash for five plots of land and four other choice properties in Abuja. Some of the assets traced to him include five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
According to the prosecution, the 1st defendant whose father, Bala Mohammed, is currently under detention, paid for the assets in excess of the statutory limit, without recourse to any financial institution.
Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets when he completed the EFCC Asset Declaration Form A, the ex-Minister’s son was further accused of concealing four accounts he operated with Standard Chartered Bank. EFCC gave the said account numbers as 0001857597, 5001214708, 0000895037 and 000895020.
The agency had earlier seized some properties it traced to the defendant and his father who is under investigation over an alleged fraudulent N1trillion land swap deal that took place between 2010 and 2015 while he was in office as FCT Minister.