By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
Justice Bello Abbas of the Sokoto High Court I has fixed July 4, this year for judgment of alleged fraud case involving former Sokoto state Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa.
Justice Abbas who is the state’s Chief Judge on Tuesday adjourned the judgement after complainant, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and defendants adopted their written addresses and closed their cases.
Bafarawa along with Beedash Nigeria Limited, Nasdalbap Nigeria Limited, Nasiru Bafarawa and Salihu Maibuhu-Gummi are facing a 33-count charge bordering on unlawful sales of shares belonging to Sokoto State Government.
Also included among the charges, misappropriation of government funds, criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen properties and unauthorized payments to the tune of millions of Naira. According to the charge sheet, the offences were committed when Bafarawa was governor between 2003 and 2007.
Highlighting the contents of the written address submitted to court, the led Defense Counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) argued that the complainant abandoned 11 count charges without leading evidence.
Fagbemi further argued that the ingredients needed to prove other 22 charges were not sufficient to warrant conviction of the accused persons as law required proving criminal offence beyond reasonable doubt.
He averred that it is a tried law that it is better than1, 000 accused to go unpunished that to punishing a single innocent person. He said justice had no sentimental or emotional provocation stressing that former Governor Bafarawa should be referred as “An HonestComplainant turned Accused Person’’ in view of the antecedents that he first reported fraud case to EFCC in 2006.
According to him, Bafarawa made right step as whistle blower before circumstances turned against him to become accused person battling with the case for long despite his honest step.
He explained that on the surface the accused was forced on punitive way to defend himself as EFCC could not led any new evidence after override no case submission. Fabegmi added that prosecution needed to cumulatively led evidence prove the charges no few and prayed the court to resist temptation on accepting the 22 charges the prosecution led evidence.
He argued that areas of personal usage or beneficial on conspiracy agreements in committing the crime was no substantiated while issue ofpublic officer statue was misconceived against superior constitution than penal code recognition.
He urged the court to discharge and acquitted the accused persons on the ground of not satisfying the needed ingredients sufficient in proving the charges.
In his submission, EFCC led Counsel. Chief Jacob Ochidi, said efforts were made sufficiently to prove the charges beside the 11 mentioned which no evidence were led.
Ochidi urged the court to convict the accused persons based on testimonies and exhibits led in evidence according the law requirement.
It would be recalled that the court had earlier discharged and acquitted Munti Trade Golobal Concept and Bashir Mamman-Nasarawa, who were joined in the suit filed by the EFCC.
However, Abbas adjourned the case till July 4, 2018 for judgment and orderedthe bail granted t accused persons earlier to continue.