A former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda; former Governor of Zamfara State, Aliyu Shinkafi and two others were on Monday arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Zamfara.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Yuguda and his accomplices on a five-count charge of Conspiracy and Money Laundering.
Others charged before Justice Justice Fatima Murtala of the Federal High Court are Aminu Ahmed Nahuche and Ibrahim Malaha.
The anti-graft agency in a statement signed on Monday by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, allegedly that the accused received N450 million money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
According to Uwujaren, the money was meant to influence the outcome of the 2015 general elections.
The charge sheet read: “You Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Aminu Ahmed Nahuche and Ibrahim Malaha on or about 27th, March 2018, at Gusau, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired among yourselves to receive cash payment of the sum of N450, 000,000 (Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Only) from Odia Akpotune without transacting through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act and punishable under 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Upon hearing their submission, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Counsel to the prosecution Johnson Ojogbane requested the court for a trial date in view of the plea of the defendants.
The defence counsel J. C Shaka moved a motion for bail asking the court to admit the defendants to bail pending the conclusion of the matter.
In her ruling, the trial judge, Justice Murtala, granted the defendants bail in the N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira Only) each and two sureties in like sum.
She, however, stated that one of the sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court while the other must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
According to the judge, both sureties shall be public or civil service not below grade level 16.
Also, the court also ruled that the defendants must deposit their recent passport photographs and international passports with the registrar.
The case has been adjourned to June 27 and 28, 2018 for the commencement of trial while the defendants are remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.