By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Shamsudeen Bala Mohammed, the son of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed was yesterday granted bail in the sum of N100m by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
Shamsudeen is facing money laundering charges. He was brought to court in handcuffs by prison officials.
Trial Judge, Nnamdi Dimgba had on Wednesday remanded him in Kuje Prison after he pleaded not guilty to a 15-count charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
However, the defendant, through his lawyer, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, asked the court to release him on bail pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.
The application was however opposed by EFCC lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani, who argued that the defendant planned to escape from the country once he was out of detention.
The prosecutor told the court that the ex-Minister’s son blatantly refused to surrender his international passport to the EFCC.
Ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Dimgba said he was minded to grant the defendant bail considering that allegations against him were bailable offences.
As part of the conditions, the judge said that the defendant must produce two reasonable sureties to enter into N50m bail bond each.
The judge then fixed March 27 and 28 for commencement of trial.
Shamsudeen is facing trial alongside four firms- Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, which the EFCC said were used to launder over N1.1billion.
EFCC alleged that the 1st defendant, in a bid to conceal stolen funds at his disposal, resorted to acquisition of houses within the high-brow areas in Abuja.
It told the court that Shamsudeen paid cash for five plots of land and four other choice properties in Abuja. Some of the assets traced to him include five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
The prosecution said that Shamsudeen whose father, Bala Mohammed, is currently in detention, paid for the assets in excess of the statutory limit, without recourse to any financial institution.
Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets when he completed the EFCC Asset Declaration Form A, he was also accused of concealing four accounts he operated with Standard Chartered Bank.
EFCC gave the said account numbers as 0001857597, 5001214708, 0000895037 and 000895020.
The agency had earlier seized some properties it traced to the defendant and his father who is under investigation over an alleged fraudulent N1trillion land swap deal that took place between 2010 and 2015 while he was in office as FCT Minister.