The Federal Government through the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla-led Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property has arraigned a Director of Finance and Account in the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, Ibrahim Tumsah alongside his brother Tijani on a two-count charge of failure to declare their assets to the panel.
They were arraigned before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
Tijani is said to be a member of the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative and a former Interim National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Before their arraignment today, Justice Muawiyah Idris of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, had on December 6, 2017 ordered that 86 luxury vehicles, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, all of which the panel allegedly seized from the two defendants, should be forfeited to the government.
After pleading not guilty to the charges, the court granted the defendants bail to the sum of N20 million with two sureties.
This was after the prosecution counsel, Festus Keyamo did not object to the bail applications filed by their lawyers, Abdul Mohammed (for Ibrahim Tumsah) and Kehinde Ogunwumiju who appeared for Tijani.
The court, which adopted the bail conditions agreed upon by the prosecution and the defence counsel, said the sureties must either be a business person or a public civil servant not below the rank of grade level 15.
In addition, the sureties must have landed properties anywhere in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The defendants are to deposit their international passports with the court and should not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.
Meanwhile, Justice Dimgba has threatened to remand them to Kuje prison if they fail to comply with the stated conditions within three days.
Their trial has been fixed for March 1, 2018 by the court.
The charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/4/2018 contained two counts of failure of the defendants to declare their assets “without reasonable excuse and upon the notice to declare” them before the panel.
It has had been reported that all the seized 86 vehicles, 23 of which were said to be amour-plated, were described by detectives as brand new.
The court’s forfeiture orders also affected four houses, two of which were located in Wuse II, one in Wuse Zone 7 and the other in Jabi, all in Abuja.
Also forfeited to the government in the interim was a quarry plant in Kuje, Abuja.