A Minna High Court on Friday granted Mr Tanko Beji, Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Niger, standing trial on alleged N937million fraud, bail in the sum of N150million.
Justice Aliyu Mayaki, who granted the bail, also ordered Beji to produce two sureties in like sum, who must also have landed property worth not less than N200million within the court’s jurisdiction.
According to the judge, the prosecution failed to give cogent reasons why the defendant should not be granted bail.
Mayaki had on Monday ordered the remand in prison custody of Beji, and fixed Friday, June 23, to rule on his bail application.
Beji was arraigned on Monday by the EFCC in amended charges, alongside former Gov. Babangida Aliyu and former Commissioner of Environment, Mr Umar Nasko.
They were accused of criminal breach of trust, punishable under Section 97 of the Penal Code Law of Niger, Cap 94, Vol. 3 Laws of 1992.
The PDP chairman was accused of aiding and abetting Aliyu to convert N937million withdrawn from the state security account in 2011 to personal use.
Mr Ayodele Olajide (SAN), counsel to Aliyu and Beji, had urged the court to grant the PDP chairman bail, as he is a long standing lawyer, practising in Niger.
The EFCC lawyer, Mr Gbolahon Latona, opposed the bail application, but urged the judge to use his discretion.
In the amended charge, the former governor who is the first accused, is standing trial on a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust and abuse of office from 2007 and 2015.
Beji who is the second accused person, is also standing trial on two-count charge of criminal breach of trust and abetting the commission of crime.
Nasko is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal breach of trust and abuse of office.
The three defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them.
Justice Maiyaki, however, did not tamper with the earlier bail granted Babangida and Nasko.
The case was adjourned until Sept. 11 to Sept.15 for hearing of the substantive suit. (NAN)