By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday, refused to grant an application for bail variation by a Briton, James Nolan.
Justice Abang, in a ruling, held that the application lacked merit and consequently dismissed it.
Nolan is standing trial over his alleged link with an Irish firm, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) currently locked in international law suit with Nigeria.
He was initially arraigned on a 16-count criminal charge, however the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) upon discovery of new evidence of crime increased the charge to 32 counts.
The Briton having pleaded not guilty to all the charges was admitted to bail in the sum of N500 million and a surety in like sum, who must fulfill other conditions which the defendant considered very stringent.
According to the defendants, it is near impossible for him to get a serving senator as surety, a condition attached to his bail.
He therefore applied to the judge to vary the conditions to enable him meet the bail.
However delivering ruling on the motion Monday, Justice Abang upheld the submission of the prosecution that if the conditions are made lighter, the defendants may jump bail once released.
In dismissing the request, Justice Abang wondered why Nolan could not respond to the serious allegation levelled against him by the EFCC that he forged a resident permit and that if released he might jump bail.
According to Justice Abang, “I took a risk in admitting the 3rd defendant (Nolan) to bail.”
He had on November 7, admitted Nolan to a bail in the sum of N500m.
The judge, who granted the bail in an application filed by Nolan, ordered that the applicant must produce a surety in like sum, who must be a Nigerian and a serving senator not standing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria.
Besides, he held that the proposed surety must submit a three-year tax clearance certificate and sign an undertaking to always be present in court with the defendant throughout the duration of the trial.
“The senator must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama District of Abuja and fully certified by the FCDA.
”The surety must submit two passport photographs,” Abang had ruled.
Likewise, the court ordered the defendant to surrender all his international passports, even as it mandated the Nigerian Immigration Service to confirm how many passports that were issued to him within the past 20 years.
P&ID had secured a whopping $9.6 billion judgment against Nigeria over alleged failure to execute a 20-year Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA) the company had with the federal government.