The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today, February 21, 2017, arraigned the former Governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others before Honourable Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court on a twenty-two count charge of Criminal Breach of Trust, forgery and using as genuine.
Shema is being charged alongside three others – Sani Hamisu Makana, Lawal Ahmad Safana and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba – for allegedly diverting public funds to the tune of over N11b to their personal use during his tenure as Governor of Katsina State.
One of the charge read that “You Ibrahim Shehu Shema whilst being the Governor of Katsina, Sani Hamisu Makana whilst being Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Katsina State, Lawal Ahmad Safana whilst being the Permanent Secretary for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs of Katsina State and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba whilst being the Chairman Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Katsina State Chapter, between September, 2012 and May 2015 at Katsina, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court were entrusted with certain property to wit; an aggregate sum of N4,463,600,000 (Four Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Six Hundred Thousand Nairn Only) committed a criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum by transferring it from Katsina State Joint Local Government Account domiciled at Access Bank , Katsina Branch to the account of ALGON domiciled at Union Bank, Katsina Branch and subsequently withdrew same and dishonesty convert it to your personal use (under various guises including funding security intervention fund to all the 34 local governments in Katsina State and falsely described in several payment vouchers and memos) and thereby committed and offence contrary to section 311 and punishable under section 312 of Penal Code Cape 96 Laws of Katsina State, 1991.
When the charge was read, Shema and his co-accused, pleaded not guilty. However, counsel for the prosecution Jibrin S. Okutepa SAN applied for a trial date and also asked that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody since there was no motion for their bail before the court.
J. B Daudu SAN, for the accused persons applied orally that his clients be admitted to bail. Okutepa opposed the oral application for bail made by the defence counsel. He argued that now that the court has assumed jurisdiction and that the charge has been read, there is a possibility of the accused persons escaping if granted bail. He urged the court to consider the gravity of the offence and refuse the oral bail application and order the defence counsel to apply formally.
In his ruling after listening to the argument of both counsels, Justice Bako granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira Only) and surety in like sum.
The case has been adjourned to 28th and 29th of March, 2017 for the commencement of trial.
Earlier before the charge was read, Justice Bako had dismissed two applications filed by the accused persons through their counsel J.B Daudu SAN which challenges the jurisdiction of the court and competency of the charge. Both applications were resolved in favour of the respondents.