Alex Enumah in Abuja
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto has in two separate appeals, voided the state pardon granted 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 for their fresh trial in the alleged N15billion fraud proffered against them as well as a former Governor of the state, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa.
Delivering the lead judgments in the two appeals filed by the EFCC against Dingyadi and 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 issued by the acting Head of Media and Publicity EFCC, Tony Orilade, stated that the Court of Appeal in the judgment ordered that the two accused persons be tried by another judge of the state High Court other than Justice Bello Abbass who handled the initial trial.
A state High Court presided over by Justice Bello Abbas delivered a ruling which discharged them alongside three others, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah and 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 them by the state Governor, Tambuwal.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, the EFCC approached the court of appeal in Sokoto praying that the ruling of the lower court be set aside.