Thursday, 2 August 2012

Jonathan’s aide stands surety for subsidy fraud suspect

Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Intergovernmental Affairs, Mrs. Mariam Ali, has volunteered to be the bail surety for one of the suspects of fuel subsidy fraud, Christian Taylor.
Taylor was on July 26 arraigned along with  Mahman Ali, who is son of   Mariam and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali.
Counsel for Taylor, Mr. Kolade Obafemi, said Mariam had "prepared" to be the surety for the accused.
Taylor,  who his lawyer  said was a Sierra Leonean, was on July 26 arraigned before the court and granted bail on the condition that one of his sureties must be his blood relation who was resident in Lagos.
But the defence urged the court to vary the condition on the grounds that it would be difficult for him to secure a blood relation that was resident in Lagos as his surety.
Obafemi urged the court to accept Mariam, being "a responsible Nigerian instead of  Taylor's blood relation", as the surety.
"The proposed surety, Dr. Mariam Ali is a responsible Nigerian. She is the Special Assistant to the President on Intergovernmental Affairs," he said.
The judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, however, despite opposition to the application for bail condition variation, accepted the defendant's proposition of Mariam as a surety.
EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, had opposed the proposition on the grounds that Mariam had not made any deposition before the court and that the accused was trying to misrepresent the fact of his nationality.
He alleged that Taylor had in a written statement claimed to have hailed  from Okpe Local Giverment Area of Edo State and that he had stated in his asset declaration form that his father, too, was from the state.
The judge, however overruled Jacobs, saying, "the essence of granting the bail was to ensure that the accused attended trial."
Taylor and Ali along with their company, Nasaman Oil Services were arraigned on July 26 before Onigbanjo on three counts among which was fraudulent  collection of about N2.23bn from the Federal Government in the name of subsidy for importing various litres of PMS.
Date for commencement of trial had been fixed for October 30.

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