The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed 13 December for ruling on the no-case-submission filed by Shamsudeen Mohammed, son of Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Mohammed is facing a 15-count charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of conspiracy, money laundering, and forgery.
He allegedly committed the offences while his father was the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
Mr Mohammed filed a no-case submission after the prosecution finished calling their witnesses.
Through the no-case submission, the defence urged the court to strike out the charges on the grounds that the prosecution failed to lead evidence linking the defendant to the alleged crimes.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, lawyers to the parties adopted their written addresses as their final arguments.
Mr Mohammed’s lawyer, Chris Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, prayed the court to uphold the no-case-submission on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against his client.
Mr Uche told the court that his team had categorised the charges against his client into conspiracy, cash transactions and forgery.
According to him, the prosecution failed to place any evidence before the court to prove any of these allegations.
“On the allegation that the first defendant (Mohammed) bought property with cash above the stipulated financial threshold, there is no single evidence to back this claim.
“All the persons to whom the cash transactions were made, not one of them was called as a witness to say that the first defendant gave him cash.
“On the allegation of forgery, not a single original document was brought to court for the court to compare and conclude that there was a case of forgery,’’ he submitted.
Mr Uche argued that the entire case was one of transferred aggression, adding that it was based on a cocktail of speculations.
Counsel for the three other defendants also told the court that they had filed no-case-submissions and prayed the court to discountenance the charges against their clients who were all companies.
Responding, the prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the court that he had filed an 84-page response challenging the no-case-submission.
Mr Shittu told the court that the prosecution had provided enough evidence as exhibits to show that Mr Mohammed indeed made cash transactions above the required financial threshold.
He said some of the exhibits were receipts obtained from those who received the cash payment.
“My lord, we are not talking about the transactions made through the bank; it is the N80 million, N110 million and N219 million cash payments we are interested in.
“From the confessional extra-judicial statement of the defendant, he admitted that he brought the cash of N80 million himself,’’ he said.
The lawyer prayed the court to hold that Mr Mohammed had a case to answer and that he should enter his defence.
NAN reports that after the prosecution had closed its case, Mr Mohammed, rather than open his defence, told the court that he had no case to answer in the 15-count charge.
He told the court that the evidence of the prosecution against him was insufficient to prove the allegations against him.
Mr Mohammed is facing trial alongside four firms; Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd., Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd., Diakin Telecommunications Ltd. and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd.
The EFCC alleged that the four companies were used to launder the money listed in the charge.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Mr Mohammed resorted to acquisition of houses within highbrow areas in Abuja which he paid for in cash, to conceal stolen funds at his disposal.
Some of the assets are five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
The EFCC alleged that Mr Mohammed paid for the assets in excess of the statutory limit and without recourse to any financial institution.
The trial judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, adjourned the matter till 13 December to rule on whether Mr Mohammed and his co-defendants had a case to answer or not.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...