By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
The Senator Representing Kogi West at upper legislative chamber, Mr Dino Melaye was yesterday admitted to bail in the sum of N100 million by an Abuja High Court after he was arraigned by the Federal government over alleged false assassination claim.
Melaye is being prosecuted on a two-count charge for allegedly giving false information to the police to the effect that an assassination attempt was made on his life in April last year, in which he fingered the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Mr Edward Onoja as the mastermind behind the alleged attack.
In the charge dated January 31, 2018 and filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, the police disclosed that it was discovered during investigation that Melaye was attempting to frame-up some persons with his claim.
At Thursday’ proceedings before the trial judge, Justice Olasunbor Goodluck, the defendant pleaded not guilty to two-count charge after it was read to him.
Thereafter, Melaye’ counsel Mr Ricky Tarfa (SAN), urged the court to admit his client to bail pending the hearing and determination of the suit. Tarfa relied on sections 35, 36(5) of the 1999 constitution as amended, as well as sections 158 and 163 of the ACJA, 2015, to move Melaye’s bail application.
Tarfa told the court that his client would be available to face his trial.
But dissatisfied with Melaye’s pledge to be available for trial, the Federal Government filed a counter-affidavit in opposition to the bail application, which it said that Melaye a�?would not be founda�? if released on bail, citing the case of the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu who allegedly jumped bail recently.
Delivering her ruling on the bail request, Justice Goodluck, held that FG failed to provide sufficient evidence that would warrant the court to deny Melaye bail.
The court held that the defendant is constitutionally presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying the prosecution was unable to establish with cogent and admissible evidence, why Melayea��s liberty should be curtailed.
As a result, the judge granted Melaye bail to the tune of N100, 000, even as he was ordered to produce a surety that must be a civil servant not below grade level 14.
The court held that the surety must be in the Federal Civil Service and must prove that he is resident within the Federal Capital Territory.
The matter was adjourned till May 16 and 17 for trial.
By Ameh Ejekwonyilo