The Director of Light of Hope Orphanage Akute, Mr. Olatayo Atunde, accused in sexual abuse of two minors living in the orphanage, has secured bail.
Mr. Olatayo Atunde was arrested by the Zone 2 Police Command and remanded in prison custody in April following his arraignment at the Ota Magistrate’s Court, Ogun State. He was remanded without bail at the Ibara Prison, Abeokuta, on April 30, 2013 pending an advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution.
At the last hearing on May 30, 2013, Atunde was absent in court. A prison official had informed the court that Atunde was ill. Neither Atunde’s lawyer nor his relatives were also present in court. The prosecutor, Mr. Ajayi, had queried the non-presentation of a medical report to authenticate claims of Atunde’s ill health.
The magistrate, Mr. A.S. Soneye, had asked Ajayi if he suspected foul play on the part of the prison official and feared that Atunde had been released.
“Anything can happen, incidents of this nature have occurred in the course of my job,” Ajayi replied.
According to a source, Atunde was directed to another prison facility at Oba where he had secured bail.
“If you have his phone number, you might have to call him to ascertain his whereabouts or call his family. As of now, he is out of Oba Prison,” the source said.
Efforts to get details of Atunde’s bail conditions proved abortive, but the Public Relations Officer of the Ogun State Prison Service, Mr. Victor Oyeleke, confirmed Atunde’s release.
The Officer said, “Atunde secured his bail on June 13 2013, following an order from High Court 1 Ota.” He also did not divulge Atunde bail conditions.
Counsel for Project Alert, holding a watching brief for the minors, Mr. Courage Erhuen said, “I am surprised to hear that Atunde is no longer in prison custody. At the last hearing, when Atunde did not show up in court and this very issue was raised, we were assured by the court that Atunde was still in prison. So, I don’t know how he can secure his release from prison without the knowledge of the court.
“As it is, we have to wait till the next hearing to know the detail of the bail. The Ogun State Government has already jeorpadised the case by sending the minors who are witnesses in the trial, back to the orphanage to live with his (Atunde) wife. This is a very sad development.”
The four-count rape trial against Atunde was adjourned by the magistrate’s court till August 8, 2013.