The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Yero, on money laundering charges.
Mr Yero was re-arraigned along with his co-defendants at the Federal High Court in Kaduna, on eight counts, according to a statement by EFCC.
The statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the charges have to do with the N700 million allegedly paid to the defendants by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
EFCC alleged that the money was released to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Yero’s co-defendants are Nuhu Somo Wya (a former minister), Ishaq Hamsa (a former Secretary to Kaduna State Government) and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna (a former Chairman of PDP in Kaduna State).
They were initially arraigned before the former trial judge, M. G Umar, of the Federal High Court in Kaduna.
The case was reasssigned to a new judge, R.M Aikawa, after Mr Umar was transferred out of jurisdiction.
It started afresh with the defendants taking a fresh plea before Mr Aikawa on Monday.
Mr Yero and the other defendants pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to them.
Following their pleas, the defence counsel, Yunus Ustaz Usman, urged the court to extend to the defendants, the terms of the bail earlier granted them by the former judge.
The prosecution counsel, Nasiru Salele, appearing with M.E Eimonye and P.C Onyeneho, did not object to the application.
Mr Aikawa, the judge, granted bail to the defendants on the same terms earlier granted them by the former judge.
He then adjourned the case until 16, 17 and 18 January 2023, for trial.
One of the amended counts reads: “That you, Muktar Ramalan Yero (while being the Executive Governor of Kaduna state), Nuhu Somo Wya (whilst being a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna ( whilst being the chairman people’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna State Chapter, sometimes in 2015 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court (Federal High Court) did conspire among yourselves to commit a felony to wit: indirectly taking possession of the sum of N700,000,000.00 ( Seven Hundred Million Naira) which you ought to have known forms part of unlawful activity to wit; bribery and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
Another count reads: “That you Mukhtar Ramalan Yero ( whilst being the Executive Governor of Kaduna state), Nuhu Somo Wya (whilst being a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Ishaq Hamza (whilst being the secretary to the Kaduna state government), and Abubakar Gaiya Haruna (whilst being the chairman people’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kaduna State Chapter, sometimes in 2015 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court (Federal High Court) did indirectly take possession of the aggregate sum of N700,000,000.00 ( Seven Hundred Million Naira),which you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of the proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: bribery and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011( as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.
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