Ex-Adamawa acting gov, Fintiri, gets N500m bail

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday granted bail to a former Acting Governor of Adamawa State, Umaru Fintiri, who was remanded in Kuje Prison on Thursday, in the sum of N500m.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the bail should be guaranteed by two sureties in the sum of N500m each.

This followed Fintiri’s arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on five counts of money laundering involving about N1.9bn alleged proceeds of corruption.

The EFCC had on Thursday arraigned Fintiri along Mayim Constructions and Properties Limited (the second defendant).

Shortly after Fintiri pleaded not guilty to the charges, Justice Mohammed heard his bail application but remanded him in Kuje Prison to await the court’s ruling on the bail application on Friday.

Ruling on the bail application on Friday, Justice Ahmed dismissed the objection by the prosecution to the bail application, noting that it failed to show reasonable cause why the defendant should not be granted bail.

The judge rejected the claim of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Peters Aso, who had alleged that the accused would likely jump bail.

The judge held that the claim by prosecution did not hold water as the defendant did not jump the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC before his arraignment.

Other conditions attached to the bail included the seizure of his passport by the court pending the period of his trial.

The court also ordered that each of the two sureties to be produced by the defendant must have proofs of ownership of property in Abuja.

The sureties were also to deposit title deeds of the property with the court alongside two recent passport photographs.

The judge fixed October 6 for commencement of trial.

In the charges numbered FHC/ABJ/CR/131/2016, and filed on June 16, 2016, the EFCC alleged that the accused committed the money laundering offences between October 2, 2014 and July 2015.

In counts 1 and 2, Fintiri was accused of indirectly disguising the origin of a sum of N220m (N80m and N120m) on October 2, 2014.

He was said to have committed the offence in the two counts by transferring the sums of money from account number 0313000301 with Ecobank Plc and operated by Timeplex Nigeria Limited into another account-5742019591-domiciled with the same bank and operated by Mayim Construction and Properties Limited.

The prosecution alleged that Fintiri knew the sums of money to be part of proceeds of an unlawful act of ‘bribery and corruption’, stating that the alleged offences were contrary to section 15(2), (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same law.

He was also accused of committing a similar offence in count 4 by indirectly concealing the origin of the aggregate sum of N550m on October 9, 2016.