A Federal High Court sitting in Sokoto on Tuesday remanded the former deputy Governor of the state, Barrister Mukhtari Shehu Shagari, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governorship candidate in 2015 general elections, Senator Abdallah Wali and three others in police custody till May 24 when their bail applications would be heard.
They are standing trial for allegedly accepting part of proceeds from former Petroleum Minister Diezani Madueke which contravenes the money laundry Act of 2011 as amended.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) instituted five count charge against them dated 4th, May, 2018.
Also listed as defendants are :Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and younger brother of the former Governor Atahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma and the former Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Gidado.
According to the charge order, Gidado (1st defendant), Shagari (2nd) and Milgoma (4th) had in March 2015 conspired to accept N500 million from one Abdulrahman Ibrahim without transacting same through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act,2011 as amended which is punishable under section 16(2) (b) of the same act.
It added that Gidado had accepted cash payment of N500 million and eight million respectively from one Abdulrahman Ibrahim and PDP in the state contrary to section 1(a) of the money laundering act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16(2) (b) of the same act.
It further stated that Shagari, Dalhatu and Wali had in March, 2015 conspired and took possession of the sum of N500 million which formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of Diezani Alison Madueke as gratification and as such committed an offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the money laundering (prohibition) act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same act among other charge.
When the charges were read to the defendants, they all pleaded not guilty and EFCC counsel Barrister John Ojogbane prayed the court to adjourn the case to enable him present his witnesses and the defendant be remanded till the adjourned date.
However, counsel to the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants, Barrister Ibrahim Abdullahi opposed to the second application as according to him, prior to their arraignment, they had been on administrative bail granted to them by the EFCC since 2016.
“And in the verifying affidavits before this court. It shows that investigation had been concluded and while on administrative bail they had been cooperative with EFCC till date,” he said
Abdullahi added that the 3rd defendant has instrumental spinal surgery which he has been battling with.
He urged the court to take decision notice of exibits a,b and c annex to the application of bail of the 3rd defendant which has shown he should be placed on straight bed rest and grant them bail.
Similarly, counsels to the 2nd and 5th defendants, Barrister Ibrahim Idris and Barrister Aiyelabegan Abdulkadri while aligning themselves with the bail application, urged the court to uphold the administrative bail earlier granted the defendants by the EFCC.
Responding, Ojogbane urged the court to ignore their applications as the administrative bail had expired since the time the defendants were served with the charges.
He added that they received their applications by 6pm on Monday and they need two days to formerly respond to them.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Saleh Idrissa adjourned the case till May, 24 for the hearing of bail applications and remanded the defendant into police custody.