Court grants bail to Philomina Chieshe, the woman who claimed snake “stole” JAMB’s N35 million
A FCT High Court on Monday admitted Philomina Chieshe, charged with alleged “missing” N35 million belonging to the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to bail in the sum of N20 million.
Chieshe, a clerical officer with JAMB, was arraigned last Friday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Samuel Sale Umoru, a state coordinator with JAMB. Ruling in the bail application, the judge, Peter Affen declared that bail was not about setting people free but to ensure that a defendant attend trial.
He added that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 holds that bail be granted in the most liberal terms. Affen also ordered the defendant to produce two sureties in like sum. He ordered that the sureties must have landed property in Abuja worth the value of the bail sum.
Affen further ordered the defendant’s counsel, Mark Feese, to put in writing the good characters of the sureties. He further held that the court registrar, would then verify the addresses of the sureties, while the defendant must drop her international passport with the court. Affen also ordered that pending when the defendant meets the bail conditions, she would be remanded at Suleja Prison.
Earlier, Feese prayed the court to admit his client to bail, arguing that contrary to the submissions of the prosecution, she was granted administrative bail by EFCC and did not jump bail. Opposing the bail, EFCC counsel, Ekene Iheanacho, prayed the court to refuse the application, saying that she had jumped bail.
In the case of Samuel Umoru, Mr Affen adjourned further hearing of his bail application until June 11. In a related development, the court granted bail to another JAMB official, Yakubu Jekada, bail in the sum of N10million with one surety in like sum. Jekada was separately arraigned on a four-charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and dishonesty use of JAMB funds to the tune of N11.189million.
Jekada was among the six persons accused of committing criminal breach of trust and misappropriation. Affen granted him bail following the argument made on his behalf by his counsel, Gyang Zi. The judge ordered that the surety would have to be recommended to the court in writing by Mr Zi. He further ordered that the surety would swear to affidavit of means and possesses landed property equivalent to the bail sum in Abuja.
Jekada was ordered to drop his international passport with the court, while he was remanded in Kuje prison pending fulfillment of the bail condition. Mr Affen adjourned till September 16 for commencement of trial.