Thursday, February 2

P&ID: Court orders former Director at Ministry of Petroleum to be remanded in prison

Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court Abuja has ordered the remand of Grace Taiga a former Director of Legal at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, in prison custody pending the perfection of her bail condition.

Justice Egwuatu made the order on Monday following an oral application by the prosecution counsel who told the court that the defendant had failed to produce a surety. He, therefore, sought her remand at the correctional facility pending when her bail conditions are perfected.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had re-arraigned Mrs Taiga on October 7 on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering offences.

What happened in court

At the resumed hearing on Monday, the prosecution counsel Abbah Mohammed told the court that the defendant had failed to provide a surety after she was granted bail.

Mrs Taiga’s Counsel, Ola Olanipekun, (SAN), told the court that they were still in the process of perfecting her bail conditions.

The prosecuting counsel informed the court that they had a new charge which has been served on the defendant with additional “proof of evidence”.

“The only difference is that we are dropping two counts, eight and nine. It is a new charge to replace the old one. It is a reduction from nine counts to seven counts,” Mr Mohammed said.

After the charges were read to the defendant, she pleaded not guilty to the charges proffered against her.

Mr Mohammed prayed the court to remand the defendant (Mrs Taiga) at the Suleja Correctional Centre pending the perfection of her bail conditions.

Justice Egwatu granted the prosecution’s prayer and directed that Mrs Taiga be remanded in prison pending the perfection of her bail conditions.

The matter was then adjourned till February 3, for commencement of trial.

What you should know

  • The court had on October 27, 2021, granted Mrs Taiga bail in the sum of N30 million with the condition that she produces two sureties in the like sum, who must be residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
  • The sureties to be produced must have properties within the FCT and deposit documents with the deputy chief registrar of the court. The two sureties must also have evidence of tax clearance.
  • The judge had also ordered Mrs Taiga to deposit her international passport with the chief Registrar and must seek the permission of the court before travelling outside the country.
  • Mrs Taiga was again arraigned on January 10, 2022 on a 13-count amended charge. However, she was arraigned today on seven-count charge.
  • The amended charge has Mrs Taiga’s daughter listed as an accused, for allegedly receiving about $9969.5 through her HSBC bank account on her mother’s behalf.