The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, granted bail to the detained former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, to the tune of N500million with one surety in like sum.
Trial Justice Inyang Ekwo okayed Okorocha’s released on bail, after he dismissed a counter-affidavit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, filed against him.
EFCC had through its lawyer, Mr. Mr. Gbolahan latona, urged the court to allow the former governor to remain in custody, alleging that he posed a flight risk.
The prosecution maintained that Okorocha not only breached the administrative bail it earlier granted to him, but equally made himself inaccessible, a situation that led to his forceful arrest on May 24.
It told the court that the erstwhile governor, who is facing a 17-count money laundering charge, has the capacity to interfere with some of its proposed witnesses.
However, counsel to the defendant, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, assured the court that his client would be available to face his trial.
The defence lawyer stressed that his client, being a responsible citizen and a presidential aspirant, would not conduct himself in any manner that would undermine the sanctity of the court.
He, therefore, begged the court to release him on bail on self recognizance or in the most liberal terms, noting that the charge against him contained bailable offences.
In his short ruling, trial Justice Ekwo said he was minded to grant bail to the defendant.
He ordered the defendant to produce one surety that must be a responsible citizen and owner of landed property in Abuja worth the bail sum.
The court equally gave bail to the 2nd defendant in the matter, Mr. Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, who is a chieftain of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, on terms of the administrative bail the EFCC earlier handed to him.
Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter till November 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 for trial.
Okorocha, who piloted affairs of Imo state from 2011 to 2019, was arraigned on Monday alongside Mr. Chinenye and five companies, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge dated January 24.