By; BUHARI B. BELLO, Jos
Group under the aegis of Concerned Patriots in Plateau State has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for arraigning a former Minister for Water Resource, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, for alleged money laundering.
A statement signed by its Chairman, Hon. Dan Bulus, also called on the EFCC to beam their searchlight on the state further to fish out those who have played roles in squandering or misappropriating the funds of the state in the past, especially, within the immediate past administration.
A Federal High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital last month granted Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe bail, on personal recognition and that the bail bond should be signed by her lead Counsel, Sunny G. Odey (Esq), as second condition which analyst described as extraordinary in the dispensation of Justice in Nigeria.
EFCC had slammed a two-count charge on Sarah Ochekpe, Raymond Dabo (former Plateau State PDP Deputy Chairman) and one Mr. Leo Jatau, for alleged Money Laundering, amounting to about N450 million.
The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Musa H. Kurya, who said this is the first time in his practice as a judge that he would see a Counsel signing a bail bond for an accused person, said his decision to grant the accused bail is based on the ground that the prosecution the EFCC is not opposing the bail applications. But, he however, warned that he would hold the Counsel, Odey (Esq) responsible since he does not know the defendants personally.
It would be recalled that Sunny G. Odey (Esq), who led other six Lawyers for the defence had drawn the attention of the court to the bail applications personally deposed to be the defendants individually.
Hearing on the matter has been fixed for 13th and 14th February, 2018.