Alleged N72.5m theft: Court admits ex-NUFBTE leader to N25m bail



by Adenike Ayodele

 An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday  admitted a former leader of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Peter Onoja, to bail in the sum of  N25million bail.

Ona is accused of stealing N72.5 million from the union’s purse.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Mojisola Dada granted the defendant bail with two sureties in like sum.

Dada ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and have evidence of two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

She also ordered the defendant to submit his international passport with the court’s Chief registrar.

Dada adjourned the case until March 21 for trial.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Mr Michael Onasanya, in a 12-paragraph affidavit dated  Dec. 2, 2022, moved the bail application of the defendant  prayed the court to grant bail to his client on  liberal terms.

Onasanya argued that the defendant  had not jumped administrative bail and he willingly submitted himself for arraignment.

“”We pray the court to grant  the defendant bail on liberal terms because he  never jumped any administration bail my lord,” he said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Spife Owede, in his  16-paragraph counter- affidavit dated  Jan. 1, however, objected the bail application.

Owede prayed the court  to refuse the bail application of the defendant but left it at the discretion of the court.

He also urged the court to give the defendant a bail condition that will make him difficult to abscond the trial.

“In the instance that the court is inclined to grant bail, and finds merit in the application, we urge the court to impose stringent conditions that will make it practically impossible for the defendant to abscond,” he said.

NAN reports that the commission had on Dec. 1, charged Onoja on a six-count charge bordering  on stealing.

The commission alleged the defendant stole the sum of N72.5 million  from the union purse on several occasions.

According to prosecution, the offence contravenes the provisions of Section 287 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011. (NAN)