Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Sexual Harassment: Court grants suspended UNICAL professor, lawyer N300 million bail

Delivering his ruling on Mr Ndifon’s bail application, Justice Omotosho admitted him to a N250 million bail with two sureties.

• February 9, 2024
CYRIL NDIFON
CYRIL NDIFON [Credit: Law and society Magazine]

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has granted bail to Cyril Ndifon, the suspended dean of the faculty of law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), in the sum of N250 million with two sureties in the like sum.

Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling, also admitted Sunny Anyanwu, a lawyer charged alongside Mr Ndifon by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to a N50 million bail with two sureties, making a total of N300 million for the duo.

Mr Omotosho, who said the court was inclined to grant them bail in the interest of justice, held that the defendants had made out a prima facie case for the court to exercise its discretion in their favour.

Mr Ndifon was, on January 25, re-arraigned alongside Mr Anyanwu as the first and second defendants on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Mr Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on January 22 by the ICPC on the allegation that he called one of the prosecution witnesses on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Mr Ndifon to threaten her.

In previous proceedings, the court denied the duo bail on the ground that the witness, identified as TKJ (not real name) by the court, who was alleged to have been called on the phone, must be allowed to give her evidence before their bail hearing.

TKJ, a female Diploma student in UNICAL, concluded her testimony on Wednesday after the defence lawyer, Joe Agi, SAN, cross-examined her.

Delivering his ruling on Mr Ndifon’s bail application, Justice Omotosho admitted him to a N250 million bail with two sureties.

The judge held that the two sureties must own landed property in the FCT with registered titles and a minimum valuation of N150 million and must submit their certified bank statements to the court’s registrar.

He also directed Mr Ndifon to submit his international passport to the court registrar.

The judge ordered the suspended dean to sign an undertaking not to interfere with the case, be ready to stand his trial and not delay the trial.

Also ruling on Mr Anyanwu’s bail plea, Justice Omotosho held that one of the sureties must have a property in FCT but not with a registered title.

The judge directed the sureties to file their bank statements and ordered Mr Anyanwu to equally sign an undertaking not to interfere with the trial, to be ready to stand his trial and not delay the trial.

Justice Omotosho also ordered an accelerated hearing of the matter.

He held that the court exercised the discretion in the defendants’ favour because of the nature of the offence and on health grounds.

The judge held that deciding whether the accused would interfere with the witnesses or not would be likened to concluding the trial, even more, so that one of the counts is in the charge.

(NAN)

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