A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, admitted a British national, James Nolan, to bail in the sum of N500 million.
Justice Okon Abang, who granted the bail in an application filed by Nolan, ordered that the applicant must produce “a surety in like sum, who must be a Nigerian and a serving senator not standing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nolan, in a 14-paragraph affidavit dated Oct. 22 and deposed to by Emeka Nneji, a legal practitioner and counsel to the applicant, prayed the court to grant his bail application.
Nolan, in the affidavit, told the court that he had lived in Nigeria since 1998.
He said that he had serious and medical condition which required constant interaction with his doctor.
Nolan, who said that he had invested in human and infrastructural development in Nigeria, said he had no criminal record that could warrant not being granted bail.
He said he was even conferred with a chieftaincy title in Kebbi State as part of the appreciation of his good work.
The Briton, who pledged not to jump bail if granted, assured that he would not interfere in the investigation.
He, therefore, appealed to the court to grant him bail since the offence was bailable.
He said he was still innocent until the court proved him guilty.
The Federal Government, in a 24-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Aminu Lawal, an EFCC operative, had told the court that it got an intelligence report that the defendant concluded plans to “sneak out of the country” before he was apprehended by security operatives.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Bala Sanga, told the court that the defendant was arrested after an extensive covert manhunt that stretched for over two weeks.
He told the court that the defendant was a signatory to accounts of Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) Nigeria, the In-Country Support Manager of P&ID, Virgin Island.
The prosecution alleged that the defendant engaged in money laundering and tax evasion, forgery of immigration documents, running of a trafficking syndicate and involved in corrupting Nigerian officials.
The lawyer told the court that the applicant evaded tax and the business operated in secrecy.
Sanga, who told the court that the applicant would jump bail if granted, assured that Nolan would be allowed access to his doctor while in detention.
Justice Abang, after careful consideration of the written addresses of the two counsel, said although Nolan was innocent until proven guilty by the court, consideration also had to be given to the prosecution’s concern on the possibility of the applicant jumping bail.
The judge, therefore, granted him a bail in the sum of N500 million, with one surety in like sum.
He said the surety must be a Nigerian and a serving senator who is not standing criminal trial in any court in the country.
“The senator must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama District of Abuja and fully certified by the FCDA.
”The surety must submit two passport photographs.”
Besides, he held that the proposed surety must submit a three years tax clearance certificate and sign an undertaking to always be present in court with the defendant throughout the duration of the trial.
He said where the surety failed to comply, the bail would be rescinded.
The surety is to depose an affidavit of means with two passport photographs and undertake to pay the total bail sum, should the defendant escape from the country before the conclusion of his trial.
Likewise, the court ordered the defendant to surrender all his international passports, even as it mandated the Nigerian Immigration Service to confirm how many passports that were issued to him within the past 20 years.
NAN reports that EFCC had, on Oct. 21, arraigned Nolan and Adam Quinn (at large), both British nationals, over their alleged complicity in the 9.6 billion dollars judgment against Nigeria.
Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), an Irish engineering company, had secured the award against Nigeria following the non-execution of a 20-year gas and supply processing agreement (GSPA) the company had with the federal government.
The arraignment of the two British nationals is coming weeks after two P&ID directors were convicted over the deal.
The defendants, both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited, were arraigned on a 16-count charge bordering on money laundering. (NAN)