Committee’s report stalls Shema, aides’ trial in alleged N11b fraud
The trial of former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema was yesterday adjourned at the instance of the prosecution.Shema is standing trial alongside three of his aides for alleged misappropriation of N11billion during his tenure.
The prosecution, who sought the adjournment, said the report of the committee that investigated the former governor was not ready.The trial resumed at the Katsina State High Court, with the arraignment of the accused persons on two-count amended charges.Those charged along with Shema were former Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Hamisu Makana, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lawal Ahmed Safana, and former state Chairman of ALGON, Ibrahim Dankaba.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the amended charges.At yesterday’s hearing, the prosecution counsel, Dr. J. O Olatoke (SAN), called the first prosecution witness, Ibrahim Dabo, who introduced himself as former Auditor General of Katsina State.He said he was also the chairman of the committee set up by Governor Aminu Bello Masari in 2015 to investigate the State Universal Basic Education Board and Local Governments finances between year 2007 and 2015.
He also informed the court that the committee had submitted the report of its findings to Masari.But when the prosecution counsel asked the witness to recite the contents of the committee’s report, the defense counsel, E. Y. Kura (SAN) objected.
He argued that the prosecution witness ought to submit the report to the court rather than doing oral rendition.Counsel to the first accused person, J. B. Dawodu (SAN), said the prosecution counsel was employing delay tactics to frustrate the trial, despite the preparedness of the accused persons to clear their names and prove their innocence.
The trial Judge, Maikaita Bako, agreed that the report be tendered before the court. He warned that his court would not entertain any unnecessary ploys, and adjourned the case till May 30 and 31 for continuation of trial.