Accused of diverting N2.3 billion of public funds, a former minister, Godsday Orubebe, has been granted bail in the sum of N10 million.
The Abuja High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Mr. Orubebe, a former Niger Delta Affairs Minister.
Junior officials to Mr. Orubebe at the ministry, who were accused alongside the minister, however, received higher bail sums. The court granted bail in the sum of N20 million each to Oludare Alaba and Ephraim Zeri, Directors of Contract in the ministry.
Messrs. Orubebe, Alaba and Zeri were arraigned on a six-count charge by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
The judge, Olukayode Adeniyi, in his ruling, ordered Mr. Orubebe to produce one surety in like sum.
Mr. Adeniyi said Mr. Orubebe’s surety must be a responsible Nigerian with evidence of three years tax payment and land property owner within the FCT.
He said Messrs. Alaba and Zeri should produce one surety each in like sum, who must be an assistant director in the civil service and a land owner within the court’s jurisdiction.
The judge ordered that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means.
Mr. Adeniyi said Mr. Orubebe shall remain in the custody of ICPC until his bail conditions were met.
He adjourned the case till November 10 for hearing.
The defendants allegedly diverted about N2.3 billion meant for the dualisation of Section IV of the East-West Road.
Mr. Orubebe allegedly circumvented a Federal Executive Council approval for the dualisation of the Eket-Oron Road, part of the East-West Road which runs from Edo to Bayelsa.
He allegedly instructed the contractor, Gitto Construction, to rehabilitate instead of dualising as approved by the council.
Mr. Orubebe and others were also charged with conferring undue advantage on the construction firm when they caused the money meant for compensating residents whose property were marked for demolition paid to Gitto.
He was also accused of making false statements to the ICPC claiming that the decision to rehabilitate the road rather than dualise it was taken after he had left office as the minister.
Mr. Orubebe achieved notoriety after he tried to stop the former electoral commission chairman, Attahiru Jega, from announcing the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari during a live broadcast after last year’s election.
A staunch backer of immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, the former minister later apologised for his actions.