Nigeria : Tough Bail Conditions for Atuche’s Wife

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Lagos — Justice Bisola Okunnu sitting in Ikeja High Court, yesterday, granted bail to Mrs. Elizabeth Atuche, the detained wife of the former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, Mr. Francis Atuche, on the condition that she must produce two sureties, who must deposit N100 million and also possess a landed property worth N25 million in Lagos.

The trial judge had ordered Elizabeth to be remanded in prison custody after she turned down the application by her counsel for her to be remanded in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, office pending the determination of her bail application.

Ruling on the bail application after hearing counsel representing the prosecution and defence, Justice Okunnu said that it was her discretion to grant the accused person bail, especially when she was still presumed innocence of the offences preferred against her in court.

Atuche’s wife, who is standing trial on a three-count charge bordering on stealing of about N5.4 billion belonging to the bank, was also ordered to produce sureties, who must be gainfully employed in a reputable firm or doing personal businesses, one of whom must be a member of Board of Directors in a reputable firm or public corporation which operates in Nigeria and has its head office either in Lagos or Abuja.

The judge added that the other surety must be a civil servant of not less than Grade Level 14.

The trial judge said she had to admit the accused to bail premised on the principle of presumption of innocence, fair hearing and personal liberty, which the accused has right to.

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