Alleged N2bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Ex-Niger Gov, Aliyu’s case

Ex-Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger state

A Minna Division of the Niger State High Court has adjourned the trial of a former governor of the state, Babangida Aliyu, to October 7, 8 and 9.

The ex-governor is being tried for an alleged N2 billion fraud.

Mr Aliyu is standing trial alongside two others, his then Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Niger State chapter, Tanko Beji, on a seven-count amended charge bordering on criminal breach of trust.

The offences were allegedly committed while he was the governor between 2007 and 2015.

Operatives of the EFCC on April 6, 2017, had arrested Mr Aliyu over the alleged fraud.

He was arrested following an order by a judge Aminu Aliyu on May 27, for failing to appear in court for a second time.

The court on July 11, 2018, also ordered the interim forfeiture of some of his assets.

These comprised two houses in Minna, a farmland with 12 chalets and four buildings at Birgi Minna, and N57 million.

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In a statement signed by the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday, the agency said the last sitting in Minna presided over by Mikailu Abdullahi was adjourned following the absence of the first prosecution witness.

”It will be recalled that at the last sitting, the defence counsels were expected to cross-examine the first prosecution witness, PW1, Bala Muhammad on June 19, 2019.

”However, they were absent in court, thus stalling the day’s proceeding, and prompting the trial judge to adjourn to September 10, 2019.

”But, in adjourning the case, Justice Abdullahi warned that if the counsels for the defence again failed to be present, the court will be persuaded to discharge the witness and continue with the trial.

Court Session

At the resumed sitting today, counsels for the defence were present.

This prompted the counsel for the EFCC, Boniface Bassey, to tell the court that the matter was slated for the cross-examination of Mr Muhammad.

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According to the commission, first defendant, Olajide Ayodele, and counsel for the second defendant, Ibrahim Isiyaku, both cross-examined Mr Muhammad.

During the cross-examination, there was, however, an application for a ‘stand-down’, to allow the witness present memos and payment vouchers for identification purpose.

When the court session resumed, Mr Muhammad presented the memos and payment vouchers with dates and payment voucher number signed by the then Chief of Staff, Government House, Yusuf Garba Tagwai, to the court.

After the presentation of the memos and vouchers, the judge adjourned the case to October 7, 8 and 9, 2019 for “continuation of cross-examination and trial”.

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