Mr. Ifeanyi Uba
The Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the money stolen by the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Uba, could conveniently pay the monthly allocation of 11 states of the federation.
Giving reasons why Uba should not be granted bail, the SFU revealed that apart from the instant N43.291 billion fraudulent oil subsidy claim, Uba is currently being investigated in respect of another allegation relating to fraudulent transactions, money laundering, forgery of shipping documents and stealing by conversion of petroleum product worth about $280 million.
According to the reasons which are contained in a counter-affidavit to Uba’s bail application, the police unit stressed that he and his co-suspects’ fraudulent acts were against the Nigerian society, which have impacted adversely on the economy and general well being of the country.
The bail application took the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, about six hours to entertain as both Uba’s lawyer, Joseph Nwobike (SAN), and the lawyer to the SFU, Godwin Obla, took their turn to argue for and against the application.
Ruling on the submissions of counsel to both parties, Abang pointed out that he would deliver a composite ruling on both applications before the court.
“I will deliver a composite ruling on the two application before this court.
“If the objection of the respondents is over ruled, the matter will be struck out, but if it subsists, then I will make findings on the applications on merit.
“Various judicial authorities have been cited by both counsel, and I think I need time to dwell on them.
“The matter is therefore adjourned to Monday Oct. 22 subject to judicial time.
“However, if the ruling is ready before then, the court will issue hearing notices to both parties, I so hold” Abang ruled.
Nwobike had while arguing the bail application, said that it was undisputed that his clients (Uba and other suspects) had been remanded in custody since October 9.
He said the alleged offence for which the applicants were being held, did not constitute a capital offence.
He stressed that the provisions of Section 35(4) of the 1999 Constitution clearly strives to protect the liberty of the individual which the court must ensure it protects.
Nwobike argued that the respondents were in breach of the applicants constitutional right to personal liberty, as contained in the law, and urged the court to order the release of the applicants forthwith.
In response, Obla, who argued by way of preliminary objection, stressed that he was opposed to the ex-parte order made by the court on October 15, ordering that the respondents filed a response within a particular time limit.
He also told the court that he was also vehemently opposed to the application filed by the applicant’s counsel, seeking the release on bail of the applicants.
Obla argued that although the applicants were arrested on October 9, the bundle of exhibits were only taken out on October 11, which was the Constitutional time allowed for the respondents to hold the applicants.
After the extensive argument, Abang fixed Monday, October 22 for ruling.