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N180m bribe: Court grants ex-Rivers REC N100m bail

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The immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner in Rivers State, Mrs. Gesilia Khan, was on Friday granted bail by a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.

The REC is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly obtaining gratification to the tune of N180 million from an unnamed individual(s), during the 2015 general elections while she was serving in the state.

Khan was arraigned in court on Wednesday over the matter by the EFCC, but the court denied the accused bail on the ground that the bail application was premature.

It will be recalled that one Peter Popnen, an ex-staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, who was arrested alongside Khan for the alleged crime was granted bail on Wednesday in the sum of N100m with two sureties.

Surprisingly, Popnen appeared in court on Friday in prison clothes, a development, which indicated that the former INEC official had not been able to meet his bail conditions.

On resumption, the EFCC had opposed the bail application brought by the counsel for Khan, Selekeowei Larry, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, but called for accelerated hearing of the matter.

The judge, Justice Sailu Saidu, granted the accused person bail in the sum of N100m with two sureties.

Saidu noted that one of the sureties must be a traditional ruler resident in the state and own a landed property of like sum within Port Harcourt.

The court also stated that the second surety should be a civil servant, who is not below a director, in either the State or Federal Civil Service and should reside in the state.

He further added that sureties must produce two passport photographs and swear an affidavit of means while the court registrar should verify the sureties before Khan would be allowed to go home.

Justice Saidu, however, adjourned the matter till July 5, 2017 for hearing.

Speaking after the court proceedings, the defence counsel for the accused, Larry, said they were ready if the court approved accelerated hearing as requested by the prosecution.

Larry said, “I asked that my client be granted bail based on her self-esteem, given the kind of woman she is. She is a woman of honour as far as her service to this nation is concerned.

“The conditions of the bail; I will not say is harsh, but we will try to see how we comply with them and I hope we will meet up with that. But where we fail, we will know what next to do.

“What I expect of a judge of his standing is that we get fair hearing. They requested for accelerated hearing, but did not come with their witness. We are ready for hearing if they are also.”

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