The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned a former governor of Zamfara State, Mahmud Shinkafi, alongside three others before Justice Fatima Murtala of the Federal High Court sitting in Zamfara on a five-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
Others charged alongside Mr Shinkafi are the former Minister of State, Finance, Bashir Yuguda, Aminu Nahuche, and Ibrahim Malaha.
The defendants allegedly conspired and received a cash payment of N450 million, part of the $115 million that was allegedly distributed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Allison-Madueke, for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the 2015 general election.
One of the charges read that “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.”
All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
The 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.
Subsequently, Mr Ojogbane informed the court that the prosecution had filed counter affidavit praying the court to refuse bail.
Justice Murtala, after listening to the arguments between the parties, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N5 million each and two sureties in like sum.
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. Both sureties shall be public or civil service not below grade level 16.
The court also ruled that the defendants deposit their recent passport photographs and international passports with the registrar.
The case has been adjourned to June 27 and 28 for the commencement of trial while the defendants are remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of their bail terms.