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Alleged book fraud: Court grants Macmillan publisher’s co-defendant N20m bail

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday granted bail in the sum of N20 million to Bola Fasasi, a co-defendant in a $156,700 fraud case involving Macmillan Nigeria Publisher, Prof. Adesanya Adelekan.

Our correspondent reports that Adelekan is still at large, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Mojisola Dada, who granted the bail, also ordered Fasasi to produce two sureties in like sum.

Dada ruled that the sureties must be gainfully employed and have evidence of three years’ tax payment to Lagos State Government.

She also directed that the sureties must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and undertake to place lien on their bank accounts.

The judge also ordered the defendant to submit his international passport to the EFCC.

Dada adjourned the case until Oct. 18 for commencement of trial.

Earlier, defence counsel, Mr Oludotun Tadefemi, prayed the court to grant Fasasi bail on liberal terms.

He said that the application for bail was supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit sworn by the chief accountant of Macmillan Nigeria.

“The affidavit states clearly that this company has been in existence for over 50 years in this country and has never been exposed to any charge from law enforcement agencies.

“This is a civil matter between two parties. The last paragraph of the petition, which the complainant wrote to EFCC, states that the complainant only wants his money back.

“I urge your lordship to admit the second defendant to bail in liberal terms because he has gone through a lot and will be needed to make sure this money is recovered.

“We admit there is an outstanding. The books are in the warehouse and need to be sold, my lord, so that the money can be recovered,” he said.

Responding, EFCC counsel, Mr Ayanfe Ogunsina, informed the court that the commission also filed an eight-paragraph counter-affidavit dated July 5.

“We humbly seek to adopt the position in the affidavit, my lord.

“All the issues being raised are just diversionary. Without labouring the matter, I humbly urge my lord to give bail at the discretion of the court,” Ogunsina said.

Our correspondent reports that EFCC had on June 20 arraigned Fasasi on an amended six-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretences.

He, however, pleaded not guilty.

The EFCC stated in the charge sheet: “Macmillan Nigeria Publisher, Prof. Adesanya Iyiola Adelekan (now at large) and Bola Fasasi, sometime in 2018, obtained books worth $156,711.87 for sale by false pretences from BHS Book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor, Malaysia.”

It said that the defendants, under false pretences, promised to sell the books and remit the proceeds within two weeks of receiving the bill of lading.

“Macmillan Nigeria Publisher, Prof. Adesanya Iyiola Adelekan (now at large) and Bola Fasasi, sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to obtain goods by false pretences, property of BHS Book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor, Malaysia,” it added.

mmm.nnn.

Adenike Ayodele

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