The Court of Appeal in Kano has acquitted former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, in a suit filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Shekarau was charged with collecting N25m from his former party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), without using any financial institution, an offence contrary to Section 18 and punishable under Section 16 (2b) of the Money Laundering Act.
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The money was said to be part of the N950 million sent to the state through former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, on the eve of the 2015 general elections.
Shekarau was then the Minister of Education under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration and one of the political leaders of his then party, PDP, in Kano.
Shekarau, now a senator representing Kano Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was charged alongside Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali and Mansur Ahmed before Justice Zainab Bage Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Kano on a 6-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.
After calling four witnesses, the EFCC had closed its case and the defendants’ lawyers filed a no-case submission, inferring that no case had been made against them by the anti-graft agency, but the trial court dismissed the submission.
However, the appellate court in a ruling delivered by Justice Amina Wambai, held that EFCC did not discharge the burden of proof against Shekarau.
The court held that there was no evidence that could have warranted ordering Shekarau to open his defence before the Federal High Court Kano.
But the court ordered Shekarau’s co-defendants to return to the trial court and open their defence, noting that a prima facie case has been established against them.
Reacting to the judgement, Senator Shekarau said, “It is clear that this battle has been on with EFCC over diversion of 2015 PDP campaign funds meant for party agents and supervisors worth N20m, which I denied. It was merely an allegation.
“As a result, they came to my house for a seven-hour search without getting any evidence that will indict me, but still held me in detention and charged me to court.”