The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned two former Chairmen of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), for allegedly stealing N42.8 million belonging to the association.
The former Chairmen of NBA, Yinka Farounbi and Adeshina Ogunlana were arraigned alongside a former treasurer of the association, Aderinsola Kappo on a 30-count charge bordering on stealing.
According to parts of the charge, the EFCC alleged that the defendants on or about the 9th May 2018 converted to personal use the sum N1.3m property of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch.
The EFCC alleged that the money was paid into Ogunlana’s First Bank account with account No 2004528818 through cheque No 10000204.
Another one of the counts accused the defendants of stealing without authorisation the sum of N400,000 property at the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch.
They were also accused of dishonestly issuing cheque No 10000204 to themselves.
The trio, however, pleaded not guilty when all the charges were read to them.
Counsel to the defendants, Akin Olatunji informed the court of a bail application he had filed on behalf of the defendants.
However, the counsel to the EFCC, S.O Daji, told the court that he would be opposing the bail application on the grounds that the first defendant had been threatening the lives of the witnesses billed to testify in the matter.
Daji asked the court to remand the defendants in prison custody.
“My Lord we shall be vehemently opposing to the bail application. The lives of our witnesses are in danger.
“The 1st defendant through his agents have been threatening the witnesses and even some of our operatives have been threatened. I just want to state that this matter is not personal. Since we started this case, there have been incidences where the defendant have been violent,” Daji said.
Reviewing the facts before the court, the presiding Judge, Justice Mojisola Dada granted the defendants bail temporarily pending the hearing of the substantive bail application.
“The defendants are officials of NBA. They are hereby granted temporary bail on the condition that they would submit before the court their international passports. They are hereby granted bail temporarily,” the Judge ruled.
The matter was thereafter adjourned till the 3rd of June.
A mild drama, however, played out in court when the first defendant, Yinka Faroumbi slumped in the dock. He was helped up by his co-defendants.
The former NBA leaders’ travails were initiated by a petition written to the EFCC by three members of NBA, Ikeja branch, over alleged misappropriation of N30 million belonging to the branch.