The Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the embattled former governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
On Monday, Okorocha and a fellow defendant, Anyim Nyerere Chinenye pleaded not guilty to the charges brought forward by the EFCC. The Commission accused both defendants as well as other co-conspirators of theft of N2.9 billion of public funds while Okorocha was still governor of Imo State.
The judge in charge of the case, Justice Inyang Ekwo granted Okorocha bail on Tuesday in the sum of N500 million. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Solomon Umoh serving as the accused’s lawyer begged the court to grant his client bail on “liberal terms”
“The (bail) applicant (Mr Okorocha) has been a man known in this society, therefore , the prosecution’s (EFCC) contention that he could not be served with the charge is not true as he could have been served through substituted means,” Mr Umoh told the judge.
He added that it was within his client’s “constitutional right” to be granted bail based on the doctrine of “presumption of innocence.”
Justice Ekwo added that Okorocha had to also produce a surety to be granted bail. He added that the surety, who must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, must deposit the Certificate of Occupancy of the verified property with the registry of the court.
In addition, he ordered that Okorocha’s international passport be deposited in the registry of the court and asked the court registry to inform the Nigeria Immigration Service that the international passport was in its custody.