Court orders Sokoto commissioner to face trial

Efforts by the Sokoto State commissioner for lands, Mohammed Bello Abubakar to frustrate his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been thrown out by the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal Sokoto Division dismissed two appeals filed by Abubakar against the EFCC in respect of ruling delivered by a Federal High Court in Sokoto  for the admissibility of some documents presented by Commission in the trial of the appellant.

The appellant in two separate appeals, had urged the court to set aside the ruling of the lower court which admitted some documents presented by the EFCC but the appeal court has ruled that it will not entertain any further  interlocutory appeals until the matter is determined by the lower court.

Abubakar was arraigned by the Commission on 7 April, 2014 alongside his brother, Abdullahi Abubakar and three companies  before Justice Aikawa for alleged abuse of office.

The offences were committed while he was permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the second defendant a Director in the same Ministry in the administration of the former Governor Aliyu Wammako.

The companies charged alongside the brothers are, Rose Gallery Nigeria limited, Silver Spring Global Concept Limited and Sitex Multiservice Limited.

During the course of trial on 12th, 13th, and 14th, of January 2016, the prosecutor, Sa’idu Atteh presented some documents which was opposed by lawyer representing the defendants.

After listening to the arguments by the counsel on the admissibility of the documents, Justice Aikawa delivered a ruling on March 10th, 2016 with some documents admitted while others were rejected.

The first defendant being dissatisfied with the ruling approached the court of appeal Sokoto division seeking for an order setting aside the ruling of the lower court.

In a ruling delivered by a three man panel of the appellate court, both appeals were dismissed and the appellant ordered to go back to the lower court for trial.

“If either party is not satisfied with final verdict of the lower court should then approach the court of appeal and make an appeal once and for all”, the court ruled.

This is the second of many attempts by the appellant to frustrate his trial.

On May 2, 2017, Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court Sokoto granted the Attorney General of Sokoto State  permission to take over the prosecution of the matter based on a fiat purportedly from the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

The Fiat was later countered by a letter dated 5th May, 2017 from the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation which said that the Attorney General of Sokoto State has no power to take over the matter.

However, after the prosecution had received the letter from the DPPF, they approached the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to allow Justice Aikawa  who had been transferred to Lagos Division of the Federal High Court to continue with the matter.

The request was granted by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court

 

 

 

Post source : Agency Report

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