Court grants book publisher N20m bond

Judge Mojisola Dada of the Special Offenses Court in Ikeja, Lagos State on Friday granted one of Macmillan’s book publishers, Fasasi Bola, bail of N20 million for an alleged fraud case of $156,711 involving another Macmillan Nigeria editor, Professor Adesanya Adelekan.

Adelekan remains at large, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The defendant, alongside Macmillan Nigerian Publishers Limited, was indicted by the EFCC on six amended counts bordering on obtaining property by false pretences.

The indictment read: “Nigerian Publishers Macmillan, Professor Adesanya Adelekan, who is now at large, and Fasasi Bola, in 2018, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, conspired between you to obtain property through false pretenses , owned by BHS Printing SDN BHD of Selangor Malaysia.

“That Macmillan Nigerian Publishers, Professor Adesanya Adelekan (now at large) and Fasasi Bola, in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, obtained books for sale worth $156,711.87 under false pretences of BHS Book Printing SDN BHD of Selangor, Malaysia, under the claim that you would sell the books and remit the monies from the sales within two weeks of receiving the bill of lading, claim that you knew or ought to know is false.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Defense attorney Oludotun Tadefemi had urged the court to grant Fasasi bail on liberal terms.

Tadefemi said the bail request was supported by an 11-paragraph affidavit signed by Macmillan Nigeria’s chief accountant.

He said: ‘The affidavit makes it clear that this company has been in existence for over 50 years in this country and has never been exposed to any charges from law enforcement.

“This is a civil matter between two parties. The last paragraph of the petition, which the complainant wrote to the EFCC, states that the complainant only wants his money.

“I urge Your Lordship to admit the second defendant on bail on liberal terms, as he has been through a lot and will be needed to ensure this money is recovered.

“We admit that there is an outstanding. The books are in the warehouse and need to be sold, Monsignor, so the money can be recovered,” Tadefemi added.

In response, EFCC attorney Ayanfe Ogunsina informed the court that the commission had also filed an eight-paragraph counter-affidavit dated July 5.

Ogunshina said, “We humbly seek to adopt the position in the affidavit, my lord.

He said, “Any issues raised are diversions only without working on the matter, I humbly urge my lord to grant bail at the discretion of the court.”

Judge Dada granted the accused 20 million naira bail and ordered Fasasi to produce two sureties of a similar sum.

The court ruled that sureties must be gainfully employed and have proof of payment of three years of taxes to the Lagos State government.

She also ordered that sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court and undertake to place a lien on their bank accounts.

Judge Dada ordered the defendant to submit his international passport to the EFCC and adjourned the case until October 18, 2022, for the start of the trial.