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Witness explains missing documents in Shema’s N11b corruption case


Ibrahim Shehu Shema<br />

A former Auditor General of Katsina State, Ibrahim Dabo Bindawa, has told a Federal High Court in Katsina that the state government failed to include vital documents to the report indicting former governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema.

Shema was indicted along with three others in the exhibits of the case presided over by Justice Maikaita Ibrahim Bako.Bindawa, the prosecution witness and former chairman of the investigative committee that investigated the state and joint local governments accounts in the last administration from 2013 to 2015, disclosed that although the committee attached the vital documents to the report, the state government failed to release them as part of the report.He said this while testifying at Shema’s resumed trial with three of his former aides, including, former Commissioner for Local Governments, Hamisu Makana; former permanent secretary of the ministry, Ahmed Lawal Safana and former chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Ibrahim Dankaba in the alleged misappropriation of N11b.

The prosecution also told the court that he was a card-carrying member of All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that he printed posters to contest for the office of governor in 2015 against Governor Aminu Bello Masari, before he withdrew from the race.On cross examination by Shema’s legal team led by J. B Dawodu (SAN), Bindawa said he was not aware of the contents of the state appropriation law between 2012 and 2015, before his committee came up with the report that indicted the former governor and his aides.

He, however, told the court that officials of the Katsina State Government told his committee that payment vouchers relevant to the investigation were with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), adding that the committee did not bother to write the EFCC to request for the documents before coming up with its report.He further admitted that in the course of the investigation, the committee did not invite any of the accused persons to appear before it before submitting its report to Masari.

Earlier, Justice Bako ruled that the report should be admitted as exhibit in court, noting there was no evidence that the report emanated from the committee set up by the state government.The ruling was sequel to opposition by the defence counsel, J. B. Dawodu, at the previous sitting on the admissibility of the document on the grounds that it was a report of the commission of Inquiry, which was already a subject of litigation at the Supreme Court.

The trial, which was meant to last two days was, however, adjourned to October 15 and 16, 2018 at the request of the prosecution, which claimed that the second prosecution witness was ill and needed urgent medical attention abroad.

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