A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on Friday, granted a N10 million bail to Kazeem Adedeji, a former Oyo State Commissioner for Trade, Investment and Cooperatives, charged with N77 million fraud.
Adedeji, along with Yinka Fatoki, a former Director in the Ministry, and Kolawole Adewole, an employee of the Bank of Industry (BOI), are facing a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraud.
Ruling on the bail application by Mr Olabode Iranloye, the defence counsel, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N10 million each, with one surety each in like sum.
The judge ruled that the sureties must be public officers not below grade level 15 in either the Federal or Lagos State Government and must possess a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction.
He added that the sureties must also produce evidence of tax payment and must deposit the Certificate of Occupancy of such landed property with the court registry.
He then adjourned the case till Nov. 25 and 26, for trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused were arraigned on Oct. 3.
At their arraignment, the prosecutor, Mr Effiong Asuquo, had told the court that the accused committed the offences between July 2012 and June 2013.
He said that sometime in 2012, while Adedeji was still Commissioner, the Oyo State Government entered into a partnership with the Bank of Industry, known as the OYSG/B.O.I Fund.
According to him, the fund, with a total of N1 billion, was a pool from which indigenous entrepreneurs could access credit facilities.
Asuquo explained that the state government and the bank had each contributed N500, 000, 000 respectively, towards the fund.
He said the joint venture was aimed at promoting Micro and Medium business in Oyo State.
The prosecutor said that Adedeji lodged the said contribution into Enterprise Bank, where his wife worked as account officer, without the consent and approval of the Oyo State Government.
He told the court that the accused then conspired to obtain over N77 million from the fund, which was allocated to non-existing companies.
Asuquo said that the accused granted the facilities to Josh-Tolani Ventures, Tembenatil Ventures, Ojoo God’s Grace Cooperative Society, Agric Preserve Company Ltd, and Adis Steel Works Ltd.
The prosecutor said that upon investigation at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it was discovered that none of these companies were registered.
He said that the offences committed contravened the provisions of Sections 1(1), 1(3) (a) and 8 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, Cap A6, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
NAN reports that the offences attract a term of not less than 20 years imprisonment, if convicted
Adedeji and the others had, however, each pleaded not guilty to the charges.