- Justice Bello Abbas of the Sokoto high court discharged and acquitted a former governor of the state, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa
- In reaction, the EFCC said it will appeal the judgment of the court on the matter
- The anti-graft agency believes that the judge erred in law
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has described as “shocking and unacceptable,” the ruling by Justice Bello Abbas of the Sokoto high court on Tuesday, July 31, which discharged and acquitted a former governor of the state, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and four others of a 22 count charge of conspiracy, criminal misappropriation, theft and receiving of stolen funds.
Others acquitted alongside Bafarawa are Beedash Nigeria Limited, Nasdabap Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Alhaji Salihu Maibuhu Gummi
In the course of the trial, EFCC had called nine witnesses and presented several documents that were admitted in evidence while the defendants called only six witnesses.
But, Justice Abbas discharged and acquitted the accused persons of all counts on the premise that the evidence presented by the prosecution were “mere hearsay,” that there were “no documentary evidence” to back up the claim of witnesses.
A statement by the anti-graft agency read: “The commission believes that the judge erred in law and has mandated its counsel to immediately appeal the ruling at the Court of Appeal. The judgment of Justice Abbas is the climax in the series of twists and turns that the trial had witnessed over the last nine years or so.
“The defendants alongside twelve others were first arraigned on 47 counts on December 16, 2009 before the Sokoto state High Court. Upon arraignment, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the commission.
“Soon after their arraignment, the defendants filed a motion asking the court to quash the charges against them. The said motion was dismissed by both the trial court and the court of appeal.
“On the 29th of September, 2011, the prosecution filed an amended 44 count charge against the accused persons.
“However while the case was on going, one of the accused, Abdullahi Bida died while another, Aisha Mohammed Binji was discharged following a nolle prosequi application filed by the then Attorney General of Sokoto state.”
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The EFCC also lamented the wholesale pardon of five of the defendants by the current governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that the EFCC said the state high court was to decide the fate of former governor Bafarawa.
The EFCC gave the names of those charged alongside Bafarawa to include Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, Alhaji Isa Sadiq Achida, Hajia Aishatu Binji, Senator Salihu Bakwai, Alhaji Salihu Maibuhu Gunmi, Adamu Gurori.
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