Alleged N5.7bn fraud: Court admits 14 exhibits against former Katsina governor

Former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema
Former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday tendered in evidence 22 payment vouchers before the Federal High Court, Katsina, in the ongoing trial of ex-governor Ibrahim Shema.

The court, however, rejected eight of the documents and admitted 14 as exhibits.

Mr Shema is accused of N5.7 billion fraud during his tenure involving SURE-P funds.

The state government and the EFCC filed 26 charges against him bordering on fraud.

The charges are said to have contravened Section 15(2d) of Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

At the resumption of proceedings on Monday, the prosecution counsel, S T Ologunorisa tendered 22 payment vouchers before the court.

A key prosecution witness, Nasiru Ingawa, who had served as special adviser to the ex-governor on SURE-P, told the court that vouchers were raised sometimes for a programme, but never implemented.

He told the court that on such occasions, the defendant directs him to take the money set aside for the project to him in cash to which he complied.

The witness added that vouchers were also raised for programmes and their contract figures inflated by 20 to 30 percent on Mr Shema’s directives and the difference in the contract cost taken to him.

Mr Ingawa recalled that in the course of their relationship, he once stopped the execution of a project half way and furloughed the money to Mr Shema.

However, the defence counsel, Elisah Kurah, objected to the admissibility of some of the documents tendered by the prosecution that were either unsigned, inconclusive or not dated.

‘’Document unsigned is not admissible in court,’’ he said and urged the court to reject such documents.

In her ruling, the judge, Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari, rejected eight out of the 22 vouchers that were unsigned but admitted as exhibits, 14 payment vouchers.

The judge adjourned the case to February 25, 2019, for continuation.

(NAN)

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