Judge admits documents in N15bn trial of Bafarawa

Former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa

The former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, is being tried for corruption.

More evidences incriminating former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, in a N15 billion fraud case, were on Monday admitted at the Sokoto State High Court by the presiding judge, Bello Abbas.

Mr. Bafarawa, alongside 15 others, is currently undergoing trial for corruption charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The evidences include the memorandum of understanding, MoU, for the state and local government’s joint account signed between the state government and 23 local council chairmen in the state.

The cash book of the state Ministry of Local Government, which was allegedly used by the former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi, to withdraw funds from the account, was also admitted.

Among those standing trial with Mr. Bafarawa who was arraigned on December 16, 2009 by the EFCC, on a 47-count charge for breach of trust, misappropriation of public funds, and money laundering are Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa,  Isa Achida,  Aishatu Binji,  Salihu Bakwai, Salihu Gunmi, Adamu Gurori,  Habibu Modaci, and Sambo Danchadi.

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Others are, Abdullahi Bida, Mike Umeh, Umaru Kwabo, Shehu Koko, Ubale Yahaya,  Maigari Dingyadi and Tukur Alkali.

During cross examination by the lead prosecuting counsel, Jacob Ochidi, at the resumed sitting of the court, the state Auditor General, Yusuf Nawawi, said Messrs, Bafarawa, Dingyadi, and former commissioner for finance, the late Garba Mohammed, signed the MoU on behalf of the state government on one hand, while the former 23 local council chairmen signed the document on the other hand.

He told the court that the MoU was certified by the current SSG, Sahabi Isa Gada, as the certified true copy, while the cash book was certified as true copy by the director of finance and supply in the Ministry of Local Government, Ibrahim Umar.

Mr. Nawawi said withdrawals of N200 million monthly from the state and local government joint account by the office of the former SSG started between December 2002 and April 2005, whereas the MoU for the joint account was signed on October 24, 2004.

The lead defense counsel, Abdul-Lateef Fagbemi, after cross-examining Mr. Nawawi, pleaded for adjournment of the case,

The judge fixed February 13 and 14 for the resumption of hearing on the matter.

Part of the charge reads, “That you, Alhaji Dalhatu Bafarawa, while being the executive governor of Sokoto State and Hajia Aishatu Binji whilst being the commissioner for finance of Sokoto State, Shehu Koko, the branch manager, UBA Plc Sokoto and Sokoto State Government accounts officer and others now at large between may 2003 and April 2007, and within the Jurisdiction of these honorable court, conspired, without any approval by the State executive council to sell UBA PLC shares belonging to Sokoto State government and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 ( 1 ) and punishable under section 97 ( 1 ) of the penal code”.

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