Francis Sardauna in Katsina
A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina wednesday adjourned hearing on the alleged money laundering amounting to N11 billion against a former Katsina Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others to June 12, 2018.
Shema alongside the former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hamisu Makana, former Permanent Secretary Ministry for Local Government, Lawal Rufai, and the then ALGON Chairman, Lawal Dankaba were arraigned before the court by the EFCC on 24-count charge.
The adjournment, according to the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Maikaita, followed the inability of the legal team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting Shema to provide timely service of a document needed by the accused for the examination of a witness who was billed to testify before the court on that day.
The document was said to be the report of the commission of inquiry set up by the state government on Shemaâ€™s tenure.
Shemaâ€™s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), 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 May 28, 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. Beside, Section 36 (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, makes it our constitutional rights to be given adequate time to study the materials,â€ he said.
Counsel for the other three accused said they aligned with the argument put forward by Daudu and would 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.