How defendants use touts, fraudsters, fake documents to secure bail - Ogun CJ - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Thursday, November 23, 2023

How defendants use touts, fraudsters, fake documents to secure bail - Ogun CJ

The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu has identified corruption, perversion of justice, jumping of bail by some defendants and evading arrests, as some factors militating against speedy trial of offenders in the State.

According to Justice Dipeolu, many defendants use touts, fraudsters and present fake documents to deceive the Courts in securing bail of defendants.

The Chief Judge disclosed this during the maiden Bondsmen Stakeholders Forum held at the Judiciary Complex, Kobape, Abeokuta on Thursday.

While lamenting the way and manners touts, fraudsters pose as bondsmen and present fake documents to stand sureties for defendants in courts, she noted that these sharp practices encourage perversion of justice with so many defendants jumping bail and evading arrests since what they presented were fake documents.

She disclosed that "it was in finding  solution to these challenges that made her established bondsman scheme in 2021, saying that the scheme has not only assisted speedy course of justice, but equally helped in prison decongestion.

She said,  "not less than 2,800 defendants standing trials in the State have regained freedom under the scheme since its establishment, while another 500 prison inmates had been freed under the jail delivery exercise under her watch".

She explained that one of the cardinal programmes of her administration which is central to accessing justice, is prison decongestion, but the corrupt ridden informal way of getting bail bonds for the defendants was like a wall of Jericho standing on her way.

She said, "we realized that there was a need to clean up the existing bail system which had become ridden with corruption, inefficiency and perversion of justice with so many defendants jumping bail and evading arrests through the use of touts and fraudsters who present fake documents to deceive the Courts to secure the bail of defendants. 

"The effect of seeing defendants jump bail led to stringent bail conditions from the Courts. The inability to meet these terms meant that while a number of trials were progressing, a lot of defendants were being held in custody during the pendency of their trials, thereby exacerbating the problem of congestion in the Correctional facilities". 

"Trials were also being delayed due to the challenges faced by the Correctional Centres in transporting the ever-increasing number of inmates in their facilities to the various courts across the State".

"In  2020 therefore, we set up the Bondsman Scheme, upon the commencement of the scheme, regulations were drawn up and a Licensing Board was established. By 2021, the first license had been issued to Chrysalis Bail and Bond Limited". 

Justice Dipeolu explained that since the Bondsman Scheme was set up in 2020 with the Licensing Board set up in 2021, two licensed bondsmen,  Chrysalis Bail and Bond Limited and Egba Kelisco Bail and Bond Limited are now operational in the State.

She said both companies have contributed in no small measure to easing the problems of congestion at the Correctional facilities as over 2,800 defendants have been freed from the correctional facilities in the state between January 2021 and October 2023.

"It is important that we recognize the critical role that bondsmen play in the criminal justice system. As key stakeholders and partners in progress, the bondsmen are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that individuals, accused of offenses, have the opportunity to secure their release from custody while awaiting trial"

"The stakeholders forum provides a unique opportunity to engage in  meaningful dialogue, share perspectives, and collectively work towards enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of legal profession. 

Dipeolu called on the stakeholders in the administration of justice to embrace the new innovation such as the bondsman scheme which is only in operation in Ogun State saying that ''it is imperative that we embrace innovation and stay abreast of our ever-evolving legal landscape. The nature of our work requires us to be adaptable, responsive, and proactive in addressing the challenges that arise with it.

Other speakers at the event were  Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, the Chairman of Ogun State Judiciary Bondsmen Licensing Board, Mr Oke Olakulehin, Bonds Administrator, Ogun State Judiciary, Mr Valentine Ofia, Chairman, Chrysalis Bail and Bond Limited, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu represented by ACP Ayo Edun among others.

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