*Orders fresh trial
By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto has in two separate appeals, voided the state pardon granted by Governor Aminu Tambuwa to some former officials of the state who were prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at the Sokoto State High Court.
The court which voided the state pardon granted the defendants, Alhaji Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi (former SSG), and Isa Sadiq Achida, also ordered their fresh trial in the alleged N15bn fraud proffered against them and a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa.
Delivering the lead judgments in the two appeals filed by the EFCC against Alhaji Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi (former SSG) and Isa Sadiq Achida, both Justices Hannatu Sankey and Ndukwe-Anyawu, held that the governor’s pardon was invalid since the accused persons were still undergoing trial.
Consequently, the Court set aside the instrument of pardon as well as the discharge of the accused persons by the trial court.
A statement by Acting Head of Media and Publicity EFCC, Tony Orilade, stated that the Court of Appeal in the judgment ordered that the two accused persons to be tried by another judge of the State High Court other than Justice Bello Abbass who handled the initial trial.
A Sokoto State High Court presided over by Honourable Justice Bello Abbas delivered a ruling which discharged them alongside three others, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah and one Alhaji Halilu Modachi. Their discharge was sequel to a motion filed by the accused persons seeking to be discharged from further criminal proceedings based on a pardon granted to them by the Sokoto State governor.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, the EFCC approached the court of appeal sitting in Sokoto praying that the ruling of the lower court be set aside.