Alleged Cyberstalking: Court Grants HEDA Chairman Bail, FG Reduces Charges

A federal high court sitting in Abuja has granted the Chairman of Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Olanrewaju Suraju to bail on self cognisance in the case bordering on cyberstalking filed against him by Nigerian government.

 

The presiding judge Justice Binta Nyanko while ruling on friday on the bail application filed by his lawyer, Muiz Banire SAN, held that Suraju be released to his lawyer on self recognisance and on the order that his lawyer must deposit the cheque of N7million to the court registrar.

 

Suraju pleaded not guilty to the two count charge when the charges were read to him by the court registrar.

 

The prosecution counsel, Bagudu Sani, had told the court that they have filed an amended charge thereby bringing the count charge to two instead of four initially filed.

 

In a charge sheet obtained by SaharaReporters showed that two count charge were dropped having sensed that there was no evidence or proof to substantiate them.

 

In the amended charge Suraju was accused of circulating an audio telephone interview alleged to have occurred between one Mrs. Carlamaria Rumor a reporter with RIA in Italy and Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN on his social media platforms.

 

The defence counsel in his own submission told the court to admit his client to bail on self recognisance adding that he is a prominent Nigerian.

 

He said the defendant has been coming to court on his own accord without being coerced four different time even when the prosecution was not ready.

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The charge read ” COUNT ONE

 

That you OLANREWAJU SURAJU, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja Lagos sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an audio telephone interview alleged to have occurred between one Ms. Carlamaria Rumor a reporter with RIA Reporter in Italy and Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN via your Twitter handle @HEDAagenda which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult to Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

 

COUNT TWO

 

That you OLANREWAJU SURAJU, Male, of 20, Mojidi Street, Ikeja Lagos sometime in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did intentionally circulate an audio telephone interview alleged to have occurred between one Ms Carlamaria Rumor a reporter with RIA Reporter in Italy and Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN on your Facebook page with the handle @HEDAResourcecentre which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult to Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 24 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, ETC) Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.

 

Adoke, one of those accused and charged with fraud in the OPL245 scam, also referred to as Malabu scandal, had petitioned the police and accused those behind the petitions resulting in his prosecution for corruption and money laundering that they circulated fabricated evidence against him to unduly incriminate him in the multi-million dollar scandal.

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It would be recalled that the police could not found any proof of forgery in the evidence used to expose Adoke’s corruption but went ahead to charge HEDA Chairman for cyberstalking.

The Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit had in April 2021 detained at the Force headquarters Suraju for alleged sharing of media report on $1 billion Malabu oil deal.

 

JP Morgan Chase Bank had also released fresh documents which indicted Adoke and was admitted as evidence which including an electronic mail sent by him on June 21, 2011.

 

The bank released the documents to a United Kingdom court, the High Court of Justice, Business and Property Courts of England and Wales, after investigation was done by the Special Fraud Office, London, under Director Lisa Osofosky. The documents confirm that contrary to Adoke’s claim of forgery against the NGOs and Italian prosecutors, the documents emanated from JP Morgan and UK court.

 

JP Morgan Chase Bank was

accused by the Nigerian government to have sent $801 million to the bank account of Malabu in Nigeria without appropriate authorisation from Nigeria.

Adoke and six others are standing trial over alleged fraud in the oil deal.

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