The Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Intergovernmental Affairs, Mrs. Mariam Ali, has volunteered to be the bail surety for one of the suspects of fuel subsidy fraud, one Christian Taylor.
Taylor, whose lawyer, Mr. Kolade Obafemi, said was a Sierra Leonean, was on July 26 arraigned before the court and granted bail on the condition that one of his sureties must be his blood relation who was resident in Lagos.
As the defence urged the court to vary the condition on the grounds that it would be difficult for him to secure a blood relation that was resident in Lagos as his surety, counsel for Taylor, Mr. Kolade Obafemi, said Mariam had “prepared” to be the surety for the accused. “The proposed surety, Dr. Mariam Ali is a responsible Nigerian. She is the Special Assistant to the President on Intergovernmental Affairs,” he said.
Obafemi urged the court to accept Mariam, being “a responsible Nigerian instead of Taylor’s blood relation”, as the surety. He had also been arraigned along with Mahman Ali, who is son of Mariam and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmadu Ali.
EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, however opposed the proposition. He alleged that Taylor had in a written statement claimed to have hailed from Okpe Local Giverment Area of Edo State and that he had stated in his asset declaration form that his father, too, was from the state.The judge, however overruled Jacobs, saying, “the essence of granting the bail was to ensure that the accused attended trial.” Date for commencement of trial had been fixed for October 30.