EFCC re-arraigns former Katsina governor over N5 billion fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema before Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari on a 26-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
Shema is accused of laundering N5,776,552,396 (Five billion, seven hundred and seventy-six million, five hundred and fifty-two thousand, three hundred and ninety-six naira only) which was allegedly stolen from the account of Katsina State SURE-P.
Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) is a scheme established by the Nigerian Government during the Jonathan Administration, to re-investing the government savings from fuel subsidy removal on critical infrastructure projects and social safety net programmes.
The former governor is alleged to have conspired with one Idris Kwado to carry the fraud and his whereabouts yet to be known.
Shema’s re-arraignment was a follow-up to the transfer of the trial judge, Justice Babagana Ashgar, to another division of the Federal High Court.
One of the charge against the former governor reads that “ You Ibrahim Shehu Shema whilst being the Executive Governor of Katsina State on or about the 17th February 2014 at Katsina, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did indirectly control the sum of N502,216,400 (Five Hundred and Two Million, Two Hundred and Sixteen Thousand, Four Hundred Naira Only),”
“Withdrawn from Katsina State SURE-P account No.5030053838 domiciled at Fidelity Bank Plc, Katsina Branch meant for peace education, advocacy and mediation programme which money you ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit; Fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Shema pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
Prosecution counsel J.S. Okutepa, SAN requested a date for trial in view of the plea of the defendant.
Counsel representing the defendant A.T. Kehinde, SAN informed the court that his client was earlier granted bail by the previous judge who is now transferred and urge the court to allow the defendant to continue with his bail and on the same conditions.
Following no objection from the prosecution, Justice Shagari ruled that Shema should continue on the terms of the bail terms earlier granted him by the court.
The matter has been adjourned to 13 November 2018.
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