Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted bail to Bature Umar Masari, a former Director-General, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN who is facing a N104.7 million fraud charge.
Masari was first arraigned on April 9, 2019, on a 17-count charge, following allegations of money laundering activities and benefitting from proceeds of gratification.
His counsel, A. Magaji, SAN, had made an oral application for bail, which was opposed to by the prosecution, prompting the trial judge to fix hearing on the bail application to April 12, 2019, and to order the remand of the defendant in prison.
At the resumed hearing, the court held that a defendant could make an oral application for bail.
Counsel for the EFCC, Faruk Abdullahi, noted that bail was at the discretion of court.
“What is paramount is to ensure that the defendant comes to court for his trial,” he said, and urged the court to impose conditions that would ensure that the defendant attends his trial.
Subsequently, Justice Abang granted Masari bail in the sum of N30 million with one surety in like sum. The surety, the judge ruled, must be resident in Abuja, and must have a landed property with a certificate of ownership.
Masari was also ordered to deposit his international passport with the Registrar of the court.
The case has been adjourned to May 24, 2019, for hearing.