The Appeal Court sitting in Kaduna has disallowed the application filed by former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema to stop his ongoing trial by the Katsina State Government on grounds that he was not availed documents pertaining to the petition against him.
The court however recognized the right of an accused to be availed documents pertaining to charges standing against them but said Shema’s application could not stand as it was filed prematurely and before a plea was taken.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Shema and three others before Justice Maikaita Bako of the state High Court for allegedly defrauding the state of N11 billion during his eight years as governor of the state.
Shema had approached the court asking it to stop his trial at the Katsina High court an grounds that he was not given a fair hearing.
The former governor had in previous sittings argued through his counsel, JB Daudu, that he was not allowed access to state facilities that would accelerate fair hearing in the case.
He told the court that the trial in the lower court was vindictive and oppressive and capable of trampling on his fundamental human right and requested the Appeal Court to dismiss the case at the Katsina High Court.
In a unanimous judgment read by Justice H.A Abiru, the court upheld the judgment of the Kastina High court on the right of the Attorney General of Katsina State to direct the EFCC to prosecute the former governor.
Shema had approached the Appeal Court on May 25, 2017, with interlocutory application challenging his alleged corruption trial by a Katsina State High Court.
But the appeal court held that there was nothing unconstitutional in the decision of the state high court to allow the Katsina State Government to give fiat to a federal government agency to prosecute the former governor for alleged offences.
Counsel to Shema, Elisha Y. Kora, who spoke with newsmen after the judgment, said though there were grounds for them to disagree with the judgment, their next action would be determined when they are availed copies of the judgment to go through.