N450m ‘fraud’: Ex-governor, others remanded in prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded former Zamfara State Governor Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, and ex-Minister of State for Finance Bashir Yuguda in prison.

Two others – former Secretary to the State Government Aminu Ahmad Nahuce, and former state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ibrahim Mallaha – are also to stay in prison.

The suspects were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a five-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

A statement by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity Wilson Uwujaren said the defendants allegedly conspired and received N450 million, part of the $115,000,000 allegedly distributed by ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Allison-Madueke to influence the  2015 election.

Some of the charges read: “You, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Aminu Ahmed Nahuche and Ibrahim Malaha, on or about March 27, 2018, at Gusau, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired among yourselves to receive cash payment of N450 million from Odia Akpotune, without transacting through a financial institution, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (A) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act and punishable under 16 (2) (B) of the same Act.

“That former Governor Muhamuda Aliyu Shinkafi received cash payment of N15 million from Ambassador Bashir Yuguda without transaction from financial institution, thereby committing an offence.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution counsel, Johnson Ojogbane, requested the court for a trial date in view of the defendants’ plea.

The defence counsel, J. C Shaka, moved a motion for bail, asking the court to admit the defendants to bail pending conclusion of the matter.

Subsequently, Ojogbane informed the court the prosecution had filed a counter affidavit and prayed the court to refuse bail.

Shaka submitted that the accused had been on administrative bail for three years without violating the terms.

But Justice Fatima Murtala granted the defendants N5 million bail each and two sureties in like sum.

She said: “One of the sureties must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court while the other must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. Both sureties shall be public or civil servants not below Grade Level 16.”

The court also ruled that the defendants should deposit their recent passport photographs and international passports with the registrar.

The case was adjourned till June 27 and 28 for trial, and the defendants remanded in prison pending perfection of their bail terms.

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