A High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has ordered the remand of suspended accountant-general of the federation, Ahmed Idris at the Kuje correctional facility.
Idris was indefinitely suspended without pay by Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget, and national planning after he was arrested following his failure to honour invitations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N80 billion fraud.
Idris was arraigned alongside Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
At the court session on Friday, Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the EFCC, prayed the court to grant the prosecution leave to prefer a criminal charge under section 109 of ACJA against the defendants. Adeyemi Ajayi, the judge, granted the application as prayed.
A 14-count charge was read to the defendants to which they pleaded not guilty.
However, Idris’s counsel, Chris Uche, prayed the court to grant bail to his client.
But Jacobs said the application must be done in writing.
Responding, Uche said pending when he files a written bail application, the court should consider that the defendants have been on administrative bail.
“Since there is no complaint that they have breached any of the conditions, they should be allowed to continue on that bail,” he said.
He said his client had to take the next available flight from Kano just to be able to make it for trial.
“They have his international passport, he provided sureties that were screened and approved. It won’t serve any purpose in keeping him in detention. The prisons are already saturated and are indeed unsafe,” the senior advocate added.
But Jacobs opposed the application. He said the media and the world are watching, and that it would send the wrong signal if they are allowed to go home without hearing the bail application.
Ruling on the application, the judge held that “the court is not a puppet to dance to the rhythm of public opinion”.
“In the interest of justice for all, they are remanded in prison custody,” the judge held.