By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
A Sokoto state High Court on Tuesday presided over by Justice Bello Abbas discharged and acquitted former Governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa of alleged N13bn financial fraud in a case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) against him.
Others also discharged and acquitted along with the former governor were; Alhaji Salihu Maibuhu Gummi and Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, younger brother to the PDP presidential aspirant.
The presiding judge observed that the evidence advanced by the prosecuting counsel lacked substance, contradictory and imaginary and therefore, did not substantially prove case of fraud against the plaintiff.
However, Bafarawa was the governor of Sokoto state between 1999 to 2007 after which he was accused of committing fraudulent transactions which case lasted over 8 years until his acquittal.
The former governor, alongside 17 others were facing 144 count charge in 2009.The charges were however reduced to 34 with a good number of the accused persons dropped for lack of evidence against them, others granted state pardon and some deceased.
Delivering judgment , Justice Abbas said the count charges has dropped to 22 with only 3 persons standing trial.
The presiding Judge declared the 3 accused persons discharged and acquited on grounds that the corruption case brought against them by EFCC could not be established beyond reasonable doubt.
In his reaction, the PDP presidential aspirant, Attahiru Bafarawa who was in excitement amidts his supporters, said justice would always prevail when your hands are clean, quoting President Muhammadu Buhari as saying” Bafarawa was not a thief when they arrested him in Abuja over the issue.”
The former governor, however, wondered why he was accused of misappropriating 13bn when he left 12bn in the covers of the state government while leaving the office.
Still amazed, Bafarawa added that, he equally left another 500 million in the account of Sultan Muhammadu Maccido Institute for Quranic and General Studies, and an additional 1bn iron rods investment for the state.
” I am calling on President Buhari and the EFCC to investigate these facts so that Nigwrians will be convinced that the fight against corruption by the government has no sentiment attached to it irrespective of political affiliation.”