After spending two days in prison, Peter Nwaoboshi, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator representing Delta north, was on Friday granted bail on self-recognizance.
The lawmaker was arraigned alongside two companies — Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Summing Electrical Ltd — on a two-count charge of fraud and money laundering before justice Mohammed Idris.
Although Nwaoboshi had pleaded not guilty to the charges, he was remanded in Ikoyi prison.
Delivering his ruling on the motion for bail on Friday, Idris held that based on the entirety of processes filed, it was settled law that the court was enjoined to consider a fair dispensation of justice.
He held that the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act have not voided the power of the court to grant bail, otherwise, same would have been refused.
Idris said: “The power of the court to grant bail in non capital offences is discretionary and the court cannot exercise its discretion indiscriminately.
“There is the presumption of innocence of an accused until guilt is established.”
Idris said Nigerian judges could not feign ignorance of the country’s corruption ranking in the world and, therefore, must avoid any act that would “trigger a look of disdain, on the country’s green passport”.
He noted that although medical evidence was led as to the applicant’s ill-health, there was, however, no further evidence to show that his condition had deteriorated.
Idris further held that there was nothing “wavy in granting bail to the accused”, adding that “the seriousness of the issue is a more reason for prompt arraignment and accelerated hearing of the case”.
He said: “Bail is not a punishment but a means to secure the presence of the accused to stand trial and I find the paragraphs of the affidavit very significant.
“In my view, a defendant who has been on administrative bail and has been visiting the commission as shown in the affidavit, cannot be a flight risk.
“The law provides for equal dispensation of justice which simply means fair treatment, but in doing so, the court must not blindly follow the submissions of counsel, after all, the loosing party will always say injustice has been done.”
Idris added that the phrase “substantial justice” was used simply because “it is impossible to achieve total justice”.