Alex Enumah in Abuja
Relief came the way of the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Cyril Ndifon, as a Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, admitted him to bail in the sum of N250 million with two sureties in like sum.
His co-defendant and lawyer, Mr. Sunny Anyanwu, however got bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties, making a total of N300 million for the duo.
They were arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.
They pleaded not guilty and drew the court’s attention to their bail application, but trial judge, Justice James Omotosho, deferred ruling in the application pending the evidence of the prosecution’s star witness.
In admitting the defendants to bail yesterday, the judge while observing that bail is at the discretion of the court held that after taking submissions for and against the bail applications he was inclined to grant them bail in the interest of justice.
According to the court, the defendants had made out a prima facie case for the court to exercise its discretion in their favour.
Ndifon was, on January 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu as 1st and 2nd defendants.
Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on January 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called one of the prosecution witnesses on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threaten her.
The court had, in previous proceedings, denied the duo bail, on the ground that the witness, identified as TKJ (not real name) by the court, who was alleged to have been called on phone, must be allowed to give her evidence before their bail hearing.
TKJ, a female Diploma student in UNICAL, concluded her testimony on Wednesday after she was cross-examined by the defence lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN.
Part of the conditions attached to the bail are that the two sureties must be owners of landed property in the FCT with registered titles and minimum valuation of N150 million.
They must in addition submit their certified bank statements to the registrar of the court.
The court also directed the defendants to submit their international passport to the court registrar and sign an undertaking not to interfere with the case, be ready to stand trial and not to delay the trial.
Justice Omotosho also ordered an accelerated hearing of the matter.