Ex-governor Ibrahim Shema pleads not guilty to 24-count charges
Court re-arraigns Dariye’s son for alleged money laundering
Former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema yesterday pleaded not guilty to 24-count charges brought against him in court.The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had instituted the charges against him, which bordered on criminal beach of trust, fraud, conspiracy and forgery, among others.
Shema is standing trial with three others who were members of his administration while he was governor.They include Lawal Ahmed Safana, Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba and Sani Hamisu Makana and who were alleged to have diverted local government funds amounting to over N11 billion.
The EFCC had in February 21, 2017 taken the Shema to court as the case was adjourned several times before sitting resumed yesterday.But Shema, who was represented by his counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), yesterday pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) was prosecution witness, while Maikaita Bello presided as judge at the High Court. Hearing in the case continues tomorrow.Meanwhile, the Federal Government has re-arraigned Nanle Dariye, son of former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, before a Federal High Court, Abuja for alleged money laundering.
The EFCC had slammed a six-count amended charge of money laundering to the tune of N1.5 billion against him.When the matter was mentioned, prosecuting counsel, George Adebola, informed Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu that the matter was for re-arraignment of the defendant.
He, therefore, prayed the court that the charge be read to enable the defendant take his plea.The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him, after which Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter to April 27 for commencement of trial.
The EFCC had earlier arraigned Nanle on February 27 on the same charges alongside, Apartment le Paradis, a hotel where he was director.It alleged that the defendant failed to report a cash transaction to the tune of N1.5 billion sometime in 2013, which he received through the hotel’s account through a bank.
According to EFCC, the amount was above the N10 million threshhold permissible by law and the hotel was also not registered as Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI).The EFCC, therefore, held that the offense contravened Section 5 (1) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 5 (b) of the Act.However, following his earlier plea of not being guilty to the charges, he was admitted to bail with N5 million with two sureties in the like sum.
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