Alleged fraud: Court acquits Wali, Ahmad
The Federal High Court in Kano, yesterday, discharged and acquitted former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, and former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Coordinator in 2015 general elections, Mansur Ahmad, of money laundering charges.
The duo were initially paraded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, in May 2018 for allegedly collecting the sum of N950million from Mrs. Nenadi Usman, then director of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign in March 2015 for the re-election of Jonathan.
The EFCC alleged the monies distributed by the PDP under Jonathan’s administration were proceeds of stolen funds looted from public treasury.The anti-graft also alleged that the transaction of the money did not followed standard banking rules, thereby committing offences under Section 1(a) of Money Laundering Act 2011, punishable under Section 16 (2b) of same Act.
But delivery judgment on the criminal case, Justice Lewis Allagoa ruled that prosecution counsel had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the transaction did not follow standard rules of financial institution.
Justice Allagoa contended that evidence before the court clearly indicated the affirmation of the Defendants to receiving the large some of amount through a financial institution.
Contrary to the submission of the EFCC, the court declared that the Money Laundering Act phrase “through financial institution” has not categorically specified any process or instrument that should be presented before transaction take place.
The Court of Appeal had cleared Shekarau of all the charges after he filed a no case submission before the lower court. Reacting to the judgment, prosecution counsel, Cosmus Ugu, said the position of the court was well considered, but argued that EFCC has not failed in it charges on the Act.
“I dn’t think EFCC has gotten it wrongly, because we charge based on provision of the law. It doesn’t necessarily mean that party was malicious in its prosecution. It only means the element of the offence that ought to have been proved were not proved.
“The central issue was whether there was transaction through a financial institution or not. Our argument was that it was not, because you cannot go to Fidelity Bank Plc and say give me the account from which this money was paid and you will get it.”
Speaking with journalists after the judgment, Wali said the verdict has vindicated him of allegation of money laundering. While appreciating the support of his followers, he believed the prosecution was politically-motivated.