EFCC’s absence stalls trial of Shekarau, Wali, in alleged N950m fraud
• Commission arraigns Kebbi ex-gov over disputed N450m scam
The absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday stalled the trial of former Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Aminu Wali.
The former ministers and former director general, Jonathan campaign organization, Mansur Ahmad were alleged to have collected N950 million from ex-minister of Petroleum, Dieziani Alison-Madueke, to fund Jonathan’s re-election in 2015.
EFCC had applied for transfer of the suit from Kano to Abuja for fear of intimidation by supporters of the defendants.On resumption of the trial yesterday, counsel to Shekarau, Jibrin Samuel Otutekpa (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the case against his clients over the failure of the EFCC’s counsel to appear before the court.
Otutekpa argued that he only received EFCC’s application, seeking adjournment of the case on November 30, 2018, describing the move as a deliberate attempt to prolong the trial.
The defence lawyer prayed the court to proceed with the trial, relying on Section 351, sub-section 1 of the administration of Criminal Justice Act.He also urged the court to dismiss the six-count charge against his clients and discharge them free of any criminal tendencies.According to him: “We came up for hearing and the prosecution wrote a letter, which we were not happy about. We made our position known to the court and the matter was further adjourned till today.
In his ruling, Justice Lewis Allagoa, said the prayer of the defendant was premature, since the initial trial date was scheduled for December 3 and 4, 2018 and therefore adjourned till today.
Also, the EFCC will on December 6, 2018 arraign a former governor of Kebbi State, Usman Saidu Dakingari before a Federal High Court, Birnin-Kebbi, on a 13-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.Acting spokesman to the EFCC, Tony Orilade, disclosed in a statement yesterday in Abuja.
He said Dakingari will be arraigned along with Sunday Dogonyaro and Garba Rabiu Kamba.He alleged that they connived to collect N450 million, as part of the $115 million allegedly “shared” by Alison-Madueke to influence the 2015 general elections. Orilade maintained that Dakingari and his co-defendants’ arraignment had suffered series of adjournment due to their persistent absence.At the last adjourned date, Justice Simone Amobeda gave the absentee defendants a last chance to appear before the court to take their pleas.