An Ebute Metta Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos, today (Thursday) admitted the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens, Mr Richard Nyong to bail on personal recognizance.
The court presided over by Chief Magistrate Folashade Botoku also admitted Mr Taiwo Odofin, one of the contractors that supervised the collapsed five -storey building to bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum.
According to the Magistrate, the sureties are to be of good standing with verifiable evidences of tax payment.
The court also ordered the duo to report to the police between the hours of 8am to 5 pm every working day and to deposit their international passports and should not travel abroad during the pendency of the matter.
The duo were earlier remanded by the Magistrate in prison custody following an ex-parte application brought before the court by the Officer-in-Charge of Legal Department of Police, CSP Thomas Eno-Edobor
Their remand was to allow the police conclude its investigation and file proper charges against them.
But in her ruling on the two separate bail applications filed by the applicants, the Magistrate found merits on the applications saying it was within the jurisdiction of the court to admit the defendants to bail
The Magistrate, which took notice of the prosecution’s submission that the applications were not properly filed noted that there was nothing to show from the prosecution that the defendants will not attain trial or interfere in police investigation.
The court also said, it has jurisdiction to entertain the bail application, saying that bail is at the discretion of the court, which should take cognizance of the ability of the applicant to attain trial and the criminal records of the applicants.
The however dismissed the applicants’ applications seeking to set aside the remand order saying the order was legal, and in accordance to the law since the police has the constitutional rights to invite and investigate any allegations without prior knowledge of the person.
In admitting the applicants to bail, the court noted that Nyong is a law abiding citizen without criminal antecedent.
“He is also a managing director of a firm, with about 8, 000 employees, who is ready to attend trial and his disposition to an affidavit that he will not interfere with investigation has not been controverted or challenged by the prosecution.
“The most important consideration in admittance to bail , the court noted is the attendance of trial, of which the prosecution has no evidence to contradict”. The court added.
It will be recalled that Richard Nyong and Odofin were arrested shortly after a five-storey building under construction on Kushenla Road, Ikate Elegushi area of the state collapsed and killed no fewer than 34 persons.
The building had crumbled around 4 am with several persons trapped in the rubble forcing the state government to seal the building.
However, owners of the building, Messrs Lekki Worldwide Estate Limited, the promoters of Lekki Gardens, were remanded by the court in police custody for the next 30 days.
Magistrate Botoku, who granted the remand order, held that same was in the interest of justice and public safety.
She had ruled that under Section 264 (1) of the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2011 it was empowered to order the remand of a defendant as in the instant case, but that the major consideration is the justification of such application. The Magistrate held that having gone through the facts of the case, it was in the interest of justice for the application to be granted, as there was merit in it.
Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned till April 12.