Alleged N11bn Diversion: Court Adjourns Shema’s Trial.

A file photo of former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema.

 

 

The Katsina High Court has adjourned the trial of former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, and three others until December 11 and 12.

Justice Mai-Kaita Bako adjourned on Tuesday with respect to the statement of the fourth accused person, Mr Lawal Dankaba, which was rejected by the court.

Dankaba told the court that all the statements he made since inception of the trial were under duress.

The former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in the state, Mr Sani Makana; former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Lawal Rufa’I; and former chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Dankaba, are the three others standing trial along with the former governor.

They were alleged to have conspired and diverted the sum of N11 billion from the state ALGON account while piloting the affairs of the state.

When the trial started in 2015, Dankaba told the court that he was among those who conspired with the former governor to divert the money.

He later told the court that the statement he made was not true, noting that he was forced and threatened to make the statement.

Meanwhile, former Governor Shema is standing trial before Justice Hadiza Shagari of the Federal High Court in Katsina.

He was charged with 26 counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N 5.7 billion belonging to Katsina State Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) fund.

The charges were filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-Katsina Governor Till June 26

Ibrahim Shema

 

The Federal High Court in Katsina has adjourned the trial of the former Governor of the state, Ibrahim Shema, till June 26, 2019.

The presiding judge, Justice Hadiza Shagari gave the ruling following the absence of the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the representatives from the state government.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Trial Of Ex-Katsina Governor, Shema Over Alleged Fraud

Mr Shema is being arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on a 26 count charge of money laundering involving the sum of N5,776, 552, 396, which he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The commission is also accusing the former governor of allegedly misappropriating the sum of N5.7 billion Katsina Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P during his eight years term as governor of the state.

Alleged N11bn Diversion: Court Adjourns Ex-Governor Shema’s Trial

Former Governor Ibrahim Shema exchanges pleasantries with his lawyers at the Katsina State High Court on October 16, 2018.

 

The Katsina State High Court has adjourned the trial of former governor Ibrahim Shema and three others over an allegation of fund diversion in the sum of N11billion.

Justice Mai Kaita Bako adjourned the trial till November 12 when the matter came up in court on Tuesday.

 

Addressing reporters shortly after the hearing, lead counsel for the prosecution, Okutepa Samuel, said the prosecution called two witnesses to give their testimonies.

He added that five sets of documents were tendered against the defendants, in line with statements of accounts obtained from various banks.

Lead counsel for the defendants, Akinlolu Kehinde, on his part, told journalists that the defence counsel objected to the documents tendered by the prosecution.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Mr Shema and the three other persons of diverting the sum of N11billion while serving as the governor of the state.

Others facing trial are the former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Makana; former Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Lawal Rufa’I; as well as former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in Katsina, Lawal Dankaba.

At the last proceeding on July 9, the court adjourned the hearing till October 15 and 16.

The case was adjourned following an application by the prosecution counsel that their next witness was sick and had travelled abroad for treatment.

Meanwhile, the EFCC said it has concluded plans to drag Mr Shema before the Katsina Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday.

The anti-graft agency disclosed that it was set to charge the former governor with 26 counts of money laundering.

It claimed that Shema reportedly diverted the sum of N5.7 billion meant for the Katsina Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) fund.

Alleged N11bn Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Shema, Begins Trial

Alleged N11bn Fraud: EFCC Re-arraigns Shema, Begins Trial
File photo

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former governor of Katsina State, Mr Ibrahim Shema.

The former governor was re-arraigned on Tuesday alongside three others before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court on a 24-count amended charge.

Other defendants are the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Makana; a permanent secretary in the Ministry for Local Government Affairs, Lawal Rufai, and the Chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Katsina State, Ibrahim Dankaba.

According to a statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the accused persons were first arraigned before the same court on February 21, 2017, for allegedly conniving to divert more than N11billion from the coffers of Katsina State while Mr Shema was governor.

On the last adjourned date, the prosecution informed the court of its victory at the Supreme Court which dismissed the application of the former governor and his co-accused to stop their trial.

The prosecution also informed the court of its decision to amend the charge.

At the resumed hearing on April 10, 218, the amended charge was read to the accused persons and they all entered a plea of not guilty.

In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel, Sam Ologunorisa, informed the court of his readiness to proceed to trial.

Following no objection from the counsel representing the accused persons, the first prosecution witness, Ibrahim Dabo Bujawa entered the witness box.

In his evidence, Bujawa who is a former Auditor General of Katsina State who retired in 2004, told the court that he chaired the Committee of Investigation of State and Local Government finances set up by the present governor of the state, Aminu Masari.

In laying the foundation of his evidence, the witness explained how monies belonging to the Local Governments should legally be distributed.

He said, “The local governments normally access their money from the Federation Account through State Local Government Joint Account. When money comes from the Federation Account, it goes to the State Joint Local Account and subsequently distributed to local governments by the Joint Account Committee popularly known as JAAC Committee.”

According to him, “ the functions of the JAAC Committee as provided by Katsina State Government is to meet on monthly basis in order to distribute funds sent from the Federation Account to some statutory bodies such as Local Government Service Commission, Primary Education Board, Local Government Pension Board and the two Emirate Councils of Katsina and Daura based on percentage allocated to them by the respective laws”.

When asked if the first accused person, Shema, was at any time a member of the JAAC Committee, the witness answered no, stressing that a governor does not play any role in the distribution of the money.

When asked as to whether his investigation committee had discharged its mandate, the witness replied in affirmative.

He added that his investigation revealed that between 2007 and 2015 when Shema was governor, the JAAC Committee did not meet even once as provided by law.

Bujawa was, however, cut short by the counsel representing the third accused, B.Y. Kura, who argued that the witness cannot give oral evidence on a written document.

Kura stated that since there was investigation report already documented, such report should be tendered before anyone gives evidence about it.

In view of the objection of the learned silk, the prosecution counsel asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to provide the report to the court.

The case was adjourned till May 30 for the continuation of trial.

Katsina Former Top Official Jailed For Fraud

File Photo

A former permanent secretary in the administration of former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, Yusuf Saulawa was on Friday, December 29, 2017, convicted of fraud.

Saulawa was convicted by Justice Sanusi Tukur of the Katsina State High Court on one count of obtaining by False Pretense.

Saulawa according to a statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren committed fraud by collecting the sum of N2,500,000 from the complainant while he was a permanent secretary on the pretext that the Office would award the complainant a contract for the supply of fertilizer to all the Local Government areas in Katsina State.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom Jailbreak: 14 Fleeing Prisoners Rearrested

“The convict fraudulently obtained the sum of N2,500,000 from the complainant while he was a permanent secretary attached to the office of the Deputy Governor of Katsina State on the pretext that the Office would award the complainant a contract for the supply of fertilizer to all the Local Government areas in Katsina State.

“Saulawa claimed that the money was for the purchase of bidding documents. It was further alleged that after obtaining the money, the convict cut all contacts with the complainant,” the EFCC said.

In the course of prosecution, EFCC counsel Sa’ad Hanafi Sa’ad called three witnesses and tendered many exhibits.

After both parties closed their case on the 3rd of October, 2017, final written addresses were adopted and the case was subsequently adjourned to December 29 for judgement.

In his judgement, Justice Tukur said he was convinced that the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and pronounced the accused guilty as charged.

Saulawa was then sentenced to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine.

Trial Of Ex-Katsina Governor, Shema To Begin Next Year

 

The High Court of Justice in Katsina State presided over by Justice Maikaita Bako has adjourned the trial of the former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shema, alongside three other commissioners till February 13, 2018.

Shema is being charged alongside three others, Sani Hamisu Makana, Lawal Ahmad Safana and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court for the alleged offences of criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and conversion of public funds to the tune of over 11 billion Naira during his tenure as governor.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had on September 26, 2016, declared the former governor wanted for an alleged fraud amounting to 76 billion Naira.

The anti-graft agency said the decision was made because Mr. Shema had ignored all invitations since 2015 to answer questions about the allegations made by the current governor of the state, Governor Aminu Masari.

The agency further added that the former Katsina governor is wanted for criminal conspiracy, inflation of contracts, abuse of office, diversion of funds and embezzlement, adding that all efforts to locate him has also proved unsuccessful.

But the incumbent governor of the state, Bello Masari is said to have been displeased with the handover note he received from his predecessor and thereafter set a panel to investigate the management of the state’s finances by Mr. Shema, vowing to ensure that all stolen funds are returned to the government coffers.

Corruption Charge: Shema Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Corruption Charge: Ibrahim Shema Challenges Court's JurisdictionFormer Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema, has questioned the jurisdiction of a State High Court to try him on charges of corruption.

The former governor questioned the jurisdiction of the court through his lawyer, Joseph Dawodu when he appeared before the court to answer charges of corruption filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

At the proceedings, Dawodu had told the court on the need to first hear the former governor’s application questioning the jurisdiction of the court before reading the charges filed by the anti-graft commission.

He also urged the court to allow the former governor to continue to enjoy the administrative bail granted him by the anti-graft commission since he has not been arraigned in court.

However, the prosecution counsel, J.S Okutepa, filed a counter affidavit in reply to the motion, asking that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody until the next adjourned date.

Okutepa told the court that the first accused person violated the terms of the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC.

But Daudu argued that since the court is yet to assume jurisdiction to hear the matter, such application should not have come up at this stage.

Justice Bako refused the prosecution application for remand and adjourned the matter to February 7, 2017, for hearing on the motions on notice after which the issue of arraignment would be determined.

Shema is being charged alongside three others, Sani Hamisu Makana, Lawal Ahmad Safana and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court for the alleged offences of criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and conversion of public funds to the tune of over 11 billion Naira during his tenure as governor.

The Charge

One of the charge read that “You Ibrahim Shehu Shema whilst being the Governor of Katsina,  Sani Hamisu Makana whilst being Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,  Katsina State,  Lawal Ahmad Safana whilst being the Permanent Secretary for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs of Katsina State and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba whilst being the Chairman Association of Local Government of Nigeria,  Katsina State Chapter, between September 2012 and May 2015 at Katsina,  within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court were entrusted with certain property to wit; an aggregate sum of N4,463,600,000 (Four Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Six Hundred Thousand Nairn Only) committed a criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum by transferring it from Katsina State Joint Local Government Account domiciled at Access Bank, Katsina Branch to the account of ALGON domiciled at Union Bank, Katsina Branch and subsequently withdrew same and dishonestly converted it to your personal use (under various guises including funding security intervention fund to all the 34 local governments in Katsina State and falsely described in several payment vouchers and memos) and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 311 and punishable under section 312 of Penal Code Cape 96 Laws of Katsina State, 1991.”

PDP’s Former Governors In Reconciliatory Meeting

pdpThe leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has started a reconciliation process with former governors of the party with a view to regaining power in 2019.

National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, at a meeting with the former PDP governors said that the move is to foster unity among members.

Since its lost control of the centre in the general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been trying to rebuild its structures.

The party has embarked on series of reconciliatory meetings since its new chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sherif assumed office.

Some of those in attendance include Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina State, Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State, and Gabriel Suswam of Benue State.

Members of the party’s National Working Committee were also at the meeting.

 

Governors’ Forum Postpones Election Till May

Following reports that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) was poised to change its leadership, the Forum on Monday said it had put off the elections until May when the current Chairman, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi’s tenure will expire.

This was a key part of the resolutions reached by the Forum after an emergency meeting in Abuja which lasted over three hours.

The governors said they were united and would not take any action against anybody.

It was a moment of relief for Governor Amaechi as some of his colleagues, especially those from the North, were said to be backing Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State as his successor.

The decision to nominate Governor Shema as Mr. Amaechi’s successor was a fallout of the series of meetings by the northern governors at the Sokoto State governor’s lodge.