Francis Sardauna in Katsina
A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina StateÂ on WednesdayÂ adjourned hearing on the alleged money laundering case amounting to N11 billion against ex-Katsina governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others toÂ June 12, 2018.
Shema alongside the former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs Hamisu Makana, former permanent secretary, Ministry of Local Government Lawal Rufai, and the then Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) chairman Lawal Dankaba were arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 24-count charge.
The adjournment, according to the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Maikaita, followed the inability of the legal team of the EFCC prosecuting Shema to provide timely service of a document needed by the accused for the cross-examination of a witness who was billed to testify before the court.
The document was said to be the report of the commission of inquiry set up by the state government on Shema’s tenure.
Shema’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu told the court that the document needed by the accused to aid them when the witness testifies before the court was served only on the night of Â Monday, 28, May, 2018 despite the fact that the court had given the directive for the release of the document since April 10, 2018 during its last sitting.
Daudu, who made the observation shortly after a witness who was the former Auditor-General of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Dabo, was called to the witness box to give evidence, said the case was not ripe for continuation.
â€œMy expectation is that have we been served on time, we would have fully prepared for todayâ€™s sitting. we have gone through the report but we believe we need enough time to do necessary background checking on the document. Besides, Section 36 (6) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, makes it our constitutional rights Â to be given adequate time Â to study the materials,â€ he said.
Counsel for the other three accused persons said they aligned with the argument put forward by Daudu and will also pray the court to give their clients adequate time to study the document.
However, EFCC counsel, Dr. Olatoke Olukayode (SAN), urged the court to discountenance the arguments put up by the accused counsel, saying any diligent counsel ought to have prepared very well for sittings whether he receives documents on time or not.
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