The trial of a former governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Timipre Sylva, at a Federal High Court in Abuja for fraud involving about N2.45 billion started afresh Monday before Justice Evoh Chukwu.
He pleaded not guilty after the charges were read to him and was granted bail on conditions and terms upon which he was previously granted by the former trial judge.
The oral bail application by Sylva's lawyer, Israel Olorundare, SAN, was not opposed by the prosecuting counsel from Keyamo's law firm, Mr. John Ainetor.
Ainetor had only urged the court to grant the bail if it was willing to do so, in terms that would secure the availability of the accused person in court.
The court fixed May 25 for commencement of trial.
Sylva had earlier pleaded not guilty to similar six counts when he was first arraigned for the offences before Justice Adamu Bello on June 5, 2012.The matter had to start afresh following the retirement of Justice. AdamuBello.
He was said to have
committed the offence between October 2009 and February 2010 as governor of Bayelsa State.
The former governor also has another charges pending against him before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the same Federal High Court in Abuja.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, who signed the charges accused Sylva of offences, including conversion of various sums of money belonging to the state with the aim of concealing their illicit origins.
Sylva was accused of knowing the illegal sources of the money and allegedly converted the funds through the bank accounts of a Bureau de Change operator, a company and other individuals in order to conceal their illicit origin.
He was also accused of inducing Union Bank Plc to fraudulently grant him a N2bn overdraft facility under the pretext of using the money to augment workers' salary.
He allegedly committed the offences in conspiracy with other unnamed persons said to be at large.