The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, before Justice Babagana Ashgar of the Federal High Court on a 26-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering of N5, 776,552,396.
Shema was accused of laundering the cash which was allegedly stolen from the account of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in Katsina.
The ex-governor, in a statement on Tuesday night, said he was being persecuted by Governor Aminu Masari.
According to a statement issued by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the suspect allegedly conspired with one Idris Kwado who is on the run, to perpetrate the fraud.
One of the charges against the former governor reads: “That you Ibrahim Shehu Shema whilst being the Executive Governor of Katsina State on or about the 17th February, 2014 at Katsina, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did indirectly control the sum of N502,216,400 withdrawn from Katsina State SURE-P bank account meant for peace education, advocacy and mediation programme which money you ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit; Fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Shema pleaded not guilty to the charges but the court dismissed his application challenging the competency of the charge and jurisdiction of court to try him.
Justice Ashgar agreed with the submission of the prosecuting counsel, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), that objections as stipulated in section 396 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 can only be taken after the plea of the defendant has been taken.
Consequently, the application was dismissed.
24 April, 2018