Court Discharges Bafarawa over N15bn Alleged Fraud

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    Present incontestable facts on alleged N 12.5bn, Wamakko tells predecessor

    Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto

    A Sokoto State High Court, presided over by Justice Bello Abbas yesterday discharged and acquitted the former Governor of the State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, on the 144 -count charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on the grounds that the prosecution failed in establishing a prima facie case against the accused.

    However, another former governor of the state, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, has challenged Bafarawa to present incontestable facts on the alleged N12.5 billion he claimed to have left in the treasury of the state in 2007.

    The EFCC had filed a 147-count charge against Bafarawa in 2009, bordering on corruption, illegal sale of government shares, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen property and unauthorised payments, allegedly committed between 2003 and 2007 totalling N15 billion.

    Abbas, who is also the Chief Judge of the state, said the anti-graft body in prosecuting the case, did not present reasonable evidence to support their charge.

    He said the evidence presented before the court were not enough to convict the accused persons and that the prosecuting council failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

    The judge maintained that the evidence given by the three prosecuting officers were contradictory and lacked merit.

    Abbas posited that most of the witnesses before the court gave unstable evidence, which lacked credibility.

    “If there is a failure to prove any case beyond reasonable doubt, it is a failure. The prosecutor has not shown the court that all ingredients of the count charges have been established before presenting them to the court.

    “Hearsay evidence is not a party to the case and is not acceptable to the court. The prosecutor has a burden to prove the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

    He posited that the prosecutor heavily relied on oral evidence without presenting concrete documents before the court.

    The judge noted that the only evidence were those of the witnesses and written statements of the accused persons.

    Abbas stressed that the evidence and records had not proved that the accused persons were guilty as charged and therefore. should be acquitted.

    The former governor said he was accused unjustly for diverting public funds, insisting that he left N12 billion in the state treasury at the expiration of his tenure.

    He called on the EFCC to investigate how the N12 billion was spent by his successor and former governor, Senator Wamakko. “I left N12 billion in the state treasury before leaving office, iron rods and N500 million for Sultan Maccido Institute of Quranic Studies, Sokoto. Wamakko should account for the N12 billion that I left for him.

    Meanwhile, Wamakko, has challenged his predecessor, Bafarawa, to present incontestable facts on the alleged N12.5 billion he claimed to have left in the treasury of the state in 2007. Wamakko, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum, was reacting to the claims by Bafarawa yesterday.

    Bafarawa spoke shortly after he was discharged and acquitted by the state High Court in the case of alleged N 15 billion fraud filed by the EFCC against him and two others.

    Wamakko maintained that the allegations made by Bafarawa were baseless, unfounded and of no effect whatsoever.

    According to him, “If the allegations in anyway hold water, Bafarawa should come out clean and present the facts for the world to see.

    “I never inherited any of such money after I took over from Bafarawa in 2007.”

    Wamakko alleged that Bafarawa had at a time boasted that he (Wamakko) would never become the governor of the state.

    “Happily, and to the utter dismay of Bafarawa, I was massively voted for by the people as their governor for two consecutive and successful tenures.

    “In the same vein, I had diligently performed as a two-term governor, and bequeathed tangible legacies to the state.

    “My two administrations were really unparalleled and my legacies, projects and programmes speak for themselves, while posterity would forever write my name in gold.”

    The case against Bafarawa was brought through a petition sent to the EFCC, dated April 18, 2008 and signed by the then Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Inuwa Abdulkadir.