During the ongoing trial of a former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema today, a witness, Ibrahim Dabo Bujawa has revealed how the ex-governor approved the expenditure of local government funds without following due process between 2013 and 2015.
Bujawa made the disclosure through his statement to the EFCC which was admitted in evidence and marked as exhibit 2. The witness in the statement revealed that his committee on investigation of local government finances at the conclusion of its assignment uncovered series of malpractice.
“The committee I chaired for the investigation of the finances of local governments and Sate Universal Basic Education, SUBEB observed series of malpractice bordering on non submission of payment vouchers by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, irregular payment of money on sheets of paper, improper and suspected fraudulent payments on the State Joint Local Government Account maintained under the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and non-documentation of financial transactions by local governments; all involving the loss of funds to the tune of over Thirty Four Billion Naira,” the witness said.
“In defiance of the norms as stated above, the committee observed that all payments to local government councils were processed through Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and channeled through ALGON, a Non-governmental association which the committee considered unofficial, irregular and unconstitutional,” he added.
Earlier during the trial, prosecution counsel Sam Ologunorisa SAN asked the witness if he was given any letter appointing him to chair the committee on investigation of local government expenses, to which the witness replied, ‘yes’. The witness subsequently identified the letter and the prosecution applied to tender same in evidence.
The team of counsel representing the accused persons, J.B. Daudu ,SAN, A.T. Kehinde, SAN, B.Y. Kura SAN and Uyi Igunma objected to the admissibility of the said letter but were all overruled by the court and the letter was admitted as exhibit 1.
Ologunorisa further asked the witness, if he could identify the investigation report he conducted during the period and Bujawa identified it. The document was then requested to be admitted into evidence.
Counsel representing the accused persons again objected to the admissibility of the said document.
Justice Bako subsequently adjourned the matter to July 9 and 10 for ruling on the admissibility of the investigation report and continuation of trial.
Shema is charged alongside three others, Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba, Sani Hamisu Makana and Ahmed Rufai Safana for allegedly embezzling over Eleven Billion Naira from the coffers of Katsina State local governments joint account.