Suspected Ritualists, Fraudsters Granted Bail | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Suspected Ritualists, Fraudsters Granted Bail

Posted: Jun 21, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Oladele Ogunsola, Ibadan.

Following the arraignment of the five suspected ritualists and fraudsters nabbed recently at Oloya village, Asejire, by the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Oyo State Police Command before an Ibadan Magistrate Court , they have been granted bail as the court adjourned till 30th of next month when trial would begin proper.

qQqgryKDiigp5SDMBQmIWdnQAt the court, the accused were slammed with a 3-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and stealing of N30m.

Adjourning the case, the presiding magistrate, O. I. Uthman granted the accused persons bail to the tune of N1m with two sureties each, one of whom should be landed property owner within the jurisdiction while the other should be a public servant on or above Grade Level 10 and that the sureties should, in addition, make available to the court evidence of tax clearance for two years.

The magistrate also directed the prosecution to assemble all witnesses in the case in court on the adjourned date to expedite trial.

The accused persons were Akeem Azeez Olayode, alleged to be the syndicate leader, Ayankunle Ayanlowo, the syndicate fake herbalist, Samsondeen Abiola, a photographer whose role is to lure rich victims to the syndicate’s trap and Sherifat Gbadamosi, a syndicate member who played the role of witch during their criminal exploit.

The fifth accused person, Oriyomi Adebayo, who was alleged to be the syndicate’s spy, was however arraigned separately in Court 3, where he was charged with breach of peace and was granted bail in the sum of N20,000 only with one reliable surety by Magistrate A. A. Adebisi, who fixed July 8 for commencement of his own trial.

At the hearing on Thursday before Uthman, all the accused pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge of fraudulently obtaining and stealing N30m from one Ade Adeniran under false pretence that they were herbalists who would cure him of diabetes, knowing it is false.

Prosecution claimed that the offences were punishable under Section 516, 419 and 390(9) of the Criminal Code Cap. 38 Vol. II Laws of Oyo State, Nigeria 2000.

The team of legal counsel to the accused persons led by Tunde Oluponna sought for bail on their behalf arguing that the various counts preferred against them were bailable offences.

The counsel equally told the court that the bail had become expedient, much more so, since the accused persons had been in custody for more than one week.

Oluponna quoted copiously from the Constitution submitting that the law says that they were presumed innocent until the contrary is proven.

“We, as counsel, will ensure they appear before the court to answer the charges.  We will help the court in expediting trial.  That is why we asked the accused to assemble their witnesses so that trial can commence in earnest”, he said.

However, the Police prosecutor, Gladys Inegu, vehemently opposed the bail application on the strength of the evidence against the accused persons who, she feared, might jump bail.

To this end, the prosecutor urged the court to be stringent in considering bail so that the accused persons would not elope.

Prosecutor also maintained that the defence counsel could not afford to subjugate themselves to the position of sureties in the matter, hence the call on the court to seriously weigh its discretionary power in the matter judiciously and judicially.