The Federal Government on Thursday arraigned Senator Isah Misau, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja, for allegedly making injurious falsehood against the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
The senator, who attended court from home, pleaded not guilty to all the five counts read to him before the court on Thursday.
The trial judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, who is the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, granted him bail in the sum of N5m with two reliable sureties in like sum.
The bail sums totaled N10m for the two sureties.
After he pleaded not guilty to the charges, his lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, made an oral application for his bail.
The lawyer contended that the offences his client was charged with were bailable.
He argued that section 393(1) of the Penal Code, under which the defendant was charged, was punishable by a maximum of two years sentence upon conviction.
He also argued that Section 163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, expressly provided that his client was entitled to being granted bail.
Obla also argued that Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution presumed the defendant to be innocent, adding that the defendant, being a serving senator, could not abscond from trial.
He said the defendant could not tamper with investigation, which he said the prosecution had said had been concluded.
“I urge your lordship to admit him to bail on self recognition because the essence of bail is to secure attendance of court by the defendant,” he said.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Saleh Barkum, from the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, did not object to the bail application.
He opted to allow the court to exercise its discretion on whether or not to grant bail to the defendant.
Ruling, Justice Bello noted that the defence counsel applied for bail on behalf of the defendant, being a serving senator representing Bauchi Central in the Senate, on the terms of self-recognition.
The judge, however, ruled that he would grant bail to the defendant but it needed to be guaranteed by sureties.
He then granted Misau bail in the sum of N5m with two sureties in like sum.
The judge fixed November 28 and 29 for trial.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation had on October 10 filed five counts marked FCT/HC/CR/345/2017, before the FCT High Court in Abuja, accusing Misau, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, of making “injurious falsehood” of corruption and unethical practices against the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force in the media.
Part of the allegations by Misau considered injurious to the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force were that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission and that the IGP allegedly diverted money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles or other exotic cars.
Misau was also said to have falsely accused the IGP of ensuring that half of the mobile commanders in the country were people of his Nupe extraction.
The offences were said to be contrary to section 393(1) of the Penal Code.
But no date has been fixed for the arraignment of the defendant before the Federal High Court.
In the set of charges filed before the FHC and marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, the prosecution preferred seven counts of making and “uttering” false documents comprising affidavits, statutory declaration of age deposed to at FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate, which he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011 and 2014.
Uttering, according to Wikipedia, “is a crime involving a person with the intent to defraud that knowingly sells, publishes or passes a forged or counterfeited document.”
The offences in the seven counts were said to be contrary to Section (1)(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
The two sets of charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, who is of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.