THE Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the immediate past governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who is standing trial over an alleged ₦4 billion fraud.
Obiano entered a not-guilty plea when a court official read the charge to him on Wednesday, January 23.
Following his plea, the prosecuting attorney, Sylvanus Tahir, a senior advocate, requested that the defendant be kept in detention until the start of the trial.
The defence lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, also a senior advocate, attempted to move his client’s bail application, but the prosecutor responded that he had just received the application and needed more time to respond.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, asked Tahir if the defendant had ever been given bail.
Tahir responded that Obiano was given conditional administrative bail by the prosecution office, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In his ruling, Ekwo granted Obiano bail under the guidelines the EFCC had previously set.
He directed the EFCC to deliver to the court all documentation about the bail requirements within seven days,
Ekwo ordered Obiano not to travel outside his jurisdiction without the court’s permission and to deposit his travel documents with the court, following which the court will notify the Immigration Service about the restriction on his movement outside the jurisdiction.
Ekwo adjourned till March 4 for the commencement of trial.
Obiano was arrested by the EFCC hours after handing over to his successor, Chukwuma Soludo, on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on his way to the United States.
He was subsequently transferred to the commission’s headquarters, where he was quizzed for days over alleged mismanagement of N5 billion Sure-P funds, N37 billion security votes withdrawn in cash and inflation of contracts.
On Wednesday, March 23, the EFCC released him on administrative bail.
Unable to meet some of the conditions, Obiano was held by the EFCC while his friends and associates tried to secure his release.
Obiano finally met the conditions and was released to his family members.