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Court denies Omafume Augustina Ayinuola bail in N1.07bn fraud case



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Justice Akintayo Aluko of a Lagos Federal High Court on Friday turned down a bail application filed by a chartered accountant, Omafume Augustina Ayinuola, who is standing trial for N1.07 billion and $975, 102.58 fraud.

The judge refused the accountant’s bail application on the ground that she was a ‘flight risk’.

Ayinuola is being charged before the court alongside her mother, Lydia Abosede Ehrievuyere and their company, Patridia Resources Limited, on a 15 count-charge of conspiracy, obtaining by false pretence, forgery and fraud, by the operatives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department ForceCID Annex Alagbon-Ikoyi Lagos.

Both Ayinuola and Ehrievuyere were first arraigned before the court on August 16, on the charges.

During their arraignment, the prosecutor, Barrister Morufu Animashaun, told the court that they perfected the alleged offences between 2017 and 2021, at Trailer Park, Agbara, Lagos.

Animashaun told the court that the defendants – Ayinuola and Ehrievuyere – committed fraud against some companies, which include: Oritsetimeyin Logistics Limited, PUO Assets Limited, Resolution Capital Limited, Pine Petosan Limited, Grace Capital Limited, RsL International Limited, RsL Ventures Capital Limited, Grace & Mercy Capital Limited, Grace Assets Limited.

He further told the court that the funds allegedly stolen by the defendants were meant for the purchase and supplies of consumables for the office of the companies listed above.

The prosecutor told the court that the first defendant, Ayinuola while working with the companies listed above, used her position to illegally convert various sums of money amounting to the total sum of N1, 072, 254 411 billion and $975, 102.58 USD, to her purse.

He also told the court that the second defendant – Abosede Ehrievuyere – and her company and Patridia Resources Limited, concealed the origin of the funds, which they received from the first defendant, Augustine Omafure Ayinuola.

The prosecutor further informed the court that the second defendant, Ehrievuyere used parts of the illicit funds, to purchase and develop her family house located on 14, Irawodidia Street, Obadore, Off LASU Road, Igando, Lagos.

He told the court that the defendants’ alleged illegal acts, contravened Sections 8(a); 7 (1) (b)(i); 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006. And punishable under Sections 1 (3) and 7 (2)(b) of the same Act.

Both the Chartered Accountant and her mother had denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Based on their not-guilty plea, their lawyer, J. O. Oladeji, filed and moved their bail applications and urged the court to admit his clients to bail in the most liberal terms.

In urging the court to grant his application, Oladeji told the court that his clients are first-time offenders and that they have credible sureties to secure bail.

However, the prosecutor, Mr Animashaun, urged the court to refuse the bail application on the ground that it took police extra work to arrest and arraign them.

In particular, Animashaun in his counter-affidavit to the bail application, told the court how the accountant perjured (to lie on oath), in securing another international passport, in other to escape prosecution.

He told the court that Ayinuola had told the Nigeria Immigration Services, that she lost her travelling passport in an affidavit, whereas, the passport was with the police as part of her administrative bail conditions.

He therefore urged the court to refuse the defendants’ bail application, on the ground that they will never appear in court for prosecution.

Justice Aluko in his ruling, after citing a plethora of authorities, agreed with the prosecutor’s submission and held that there is a high possibility that the first defendant, if granted bail, could flee.

The judge, however, granted bail to the second defendant, in the sum of N500 million with two sureties in like sum.

The judge held that one of the sureties must be a landed owner within the court’s jurisdiction and the second surety must be Grade Level 14 and above.

The judge further ordered that the second defendant and the sureties must deposit two copies of their passport photograph, adding that, the defendant must deposit her international passport with the court Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR), and that the verification of the bail terms should be done by the court’s register and the prosecutor.

Justice Aluko while ordering the case file be returned to the administrative judge for the reassignment and further date, ordered that Ayinuola be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charges against her and that her mother be remanded till the perfection of the bail terms.