By Ali Rabiu Ali
A Federal High Court sitting in Dutse, Jigawa State, on Thursday, struck out a N36 billion corruption case against former governor of Jigawa state, Saminu Turaki.
The trial judge, Hassan Dikko, struck out the case over lack of “diligent prosecution” by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
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While the prosecution counsel of the EFCC was absent in Thursday’s session, the defense counsel, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) urged the court to strike out the case since the case was slated for hearing, and neither the prosecution counsel nor witnesses were in the court.
He argued that the Thursday sitting was the sixth adjournment since the case was brought before the High Court in Dutse, and there was no reason given to the court by the prosecutor (the EFCC) for their non-appearance.
The judge thereafter struck out the case and discharged the first defendant (Turaki) and ordered the prosecution (the EFCC) to do the needful when they are ready to proceed with the case.
Daily Trust reports that Turaki, who served as governor of Jigawa from 1999 to 2007, was first arraigned by the EFCC before Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on July 13, 2007, on a 32-count charge of misappropriating N36 billion while in office.
In 2011, the case was transferred to the Federal High Court, Dutse after he successfully challenged the territorial jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to hear the case.
He was subsequently re-arraigned on the same 32-count charge at the Dutse Division of the Federal High Court but after his arraignment, the trial could not proceed because of his absence in court until he was arrested by the EFCC at an event in Abuja in 2017.
He was subsequently re-arraigned in 2021 but since then, the case suffered setbacks following absence of the prosecution at all the dates fixed for hearing.
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