By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Katsina State High Court has said that it will commence ruling on the matter brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged money laundering levelled against a former governor of the state, Mr Ibrahim Shehu Shema, to the tune of N11 billion on July 9 and 10, 2018.
The presiding judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Maikaita, reserved ruling on the issue on Tuesday after intense arguments by the legal teams of the EFCC and that of Shema and three others.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, a witness in the case who is the state’s former Auditor-General Ibrahim Dabo, was called to the witness box to give evidence.
However, the EFCC lead counsel Sam Ologunorisa (SAN) inquired whether Dabo was given an appointment letter to serve as chairman of the investigative panel set up by Governor Aminu Masari to probe the finances of local councils in the state and that of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).
But Dabo answered the question in the affirmative by producing the letter which was tendered to the court as exhibit and his EFCC statement to the court.
Meanwhile, Shema’s lead counsel Joseph Daudu (SAN) and that of other three accused persons asked the court not to recognise Dabo’s documents including the letter appointing him as the chairman of the investigative panel that probes the finances of local government areas in the state.
Daudu, who enumerated several portions of the Evidence Act, told the court that it was Dabo’s oral evidence that should be admitted.
Justice Maikata, however overruled their objections and allowed Dabo to read his EFCC statement to the court.
It was a dramatic proceeding when Ologunorisa sought to tender the certified true copy (CTC) of the report of the commission of inquiry set up by the Katsina State government on Shema’s administration as further evidence against the accused.
Daudu objected to the plea and insisted that the report was the work of other people rather than that of Dabo who was its chairman.
He alleged that no evidence was attached to the report, urging the court to reject the report.
Ologunorisa admonished the court to overrule the defence counsel’s objection to the admission of the report as further evidence.
After listening to both parties, Justice Maikata adjourned ruling on the issue to July 9 and 10, 2018, promising to commence trial immediately after the ruling.