Chief Ambrose Owuru, a former presidential candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP), was yesterday granted N10 million bail by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It should be recalled that Owuru was, on August 2, 2013, arraigned before Justice Suleiman Aliyu by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a five-count charge bordering on forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.
Other conditions of the bail include the provision of a surety, who must be a senior legal practitioner with a minimum of 20 years experience, an affidavit of proof of means by the surety, and a signed undertaking that he would appear in court regularly for trial.
While adjourning the matter to October 10 for hearing, Justice Aliyu also ordered that the accused person be remanded in EFCC custody pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
Earlier, counsel to Owuru, Granville Abibo (SAN), in his submission, urged the court to grant his client bail on self-recognition. He described Owuru as an elder of the profession of the court, adding that he was called to bar in 1984 and had been in practice since then.
He, therefore, asked the court to consider his position in the law profession and as a former presidential candidate, a request that was turned down by the court.
Owuru was charged for allegedly obtaining N66 million from one Ikechukwu Eze, through a phony land deal. The complainant alleged that sometime in March 2011, he paid the sum of N60 million through Skye Bank, Olu Obansanjo Road branch, Port Harcourt, to Owuru for a property located at Nzimiro Street, Amadi flat, Port Harcourt.
Eze said in the process of taking possession of the property, it was discovered that a portion had been sold to another person. At this point, the accused allegedly asked for another N6 million to settle the other buyer, one Chief Austin Omire, which Eze allegedly obliged him.
Owuru was also accused of uttering a forged “Certificate of Occupancy dated 20th of March 1990 purportedly issued by the Rivers State Lands and Survey covering Plot 44A Amadi Layout, Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Law of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007, and punishable under section 1(2) of the same Act.”