The Federal Government has carried on with its anti-corruption fight in the country as in line with its determination to curb corrupt practices and ;looting among public office holders in Nigeria.
According to Today ng, Justice Babatunde Quadri of a Federal High Court, sitting in Jos, Plateau State, has fixed March 22, 2019 to rule on the “no-case” submission filed by a former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje.
Goje, a serving Senator, is standing trial along with a former Executive Chairman of the state’s University Basic Education Board, Aliyu El-Nafaty; S.M. Dokoro, and the ex-governor’s cousin, Sabo Tumu for an alleged N5 billion fraud.
They are alleged to have been involved in alleged financial impropriety, including the award of contracts for food supply to the state’s Government House, during his tenure. The EFCC had through its counsel, Wahab Shittu, closed its case against them, on May 31, 2018 after calling 25 witnesses and tendering several documents to prove its case.
Rather than open its defence, counsel for Goje, Chris Uche, SAN, on September 14, 2018 filed a “no-case” submission.
At today’s proceeding, January 25, 2019 Uche informed the Court of the death of Tumu. He tendered the death certificate and police report, which indicated that he died in an accident.
Shittu, thereafter, expressed the shock of the prosecution, and condoled with the family of the deceased. He then applied that his name be struck out of the charge sheet. “It is against the law anywhere in the world to continue trial of a dead person,” he said.
The trial judge granted his application, and Tumu’s name was removed. Justice Quadri, thereafter, adjourned to rule on the no-case submission.
In a related case, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday secured the conviction of one Ibrahim Suleiman who defrauded then First Inland Bank of N400, 700,000 (Four Hundred Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) only, Daily Post reports.
Suleiman was first arraigned in 2007 at a Federal High Court, sitting in Jos, Plateau State. He was re-arraigned on amended charges in 2011.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ibrahim Suleiman, on or about 29th June 2007 in Jos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, retained in your account with First Inland Bank now FCMB Plc, the sum of N400, 700,000 on behalf of others yet at large, and which sum you knew to be proceeds of an illegal act by those yet at large and thereby committed an offense punishable under section 16 of the Money laundering act 2004”.
The sum of N400, 700,000 was fraudulently diverted from an account domiciled in First Inland Bank, to Suleiman’s own account. He then transferred various sums to the accounts of his partners in crime, who are currently at large.
Presiding judge, Justice Ayo Emmanuel, found him guilty of all the eight charges preferred against him by the EFCC, ruling that the prosecution, led by Comos Ugwu, proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt after calling eight witnesses.
Before delivering his judgement, the trial judge noted with dismay that “it took me 12 years to conclude this matter due to antics deployed when I took over this matter”, adding that “it was torture as I had to travel from Ibadan and then Lagos to hear this matter”.
In his ruling, Justice Emmanuel held that: “The court has a duty, in sentencing, to impose sentence which will serve as deterrent; also in sentencing it has a duty to bear in mind the economic impact of the offence committed.
“The offence for which the convict is sentenced has led to the collapse of the financial institution and is within public knowledge that First Inland Bank virtually collapsed after the offence. “Innocent citizens have been left to suffer the consequences of other people’s criminal act”, he said.
Taking into consideration provisions of Section 311 and Section 416 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and the allocutus of the defence pleading for “leniency”, the trial judge, sentenced him to five years on counts one, two, four, six and eight; three years on count three, and two years on counts five and seven, to run concurrently.
What are your thoughts on this story?