Presiding Judge in the N15 billion corruption suit against former Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa and 15 others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Justice Bello Abbas of the Sokoto State High Court, on Monday, November 27, 2012, admitted in evidence, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the state and local governments joint account, signed between the state government and 23 local council chairmen in the state.
Also tendered to the court was the cash book of the state Ministry of Local Government, which was allegedly used by the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi, to withdraw funds from the account.
Among those standing trial with Bafarawa who was arraigned on December 16, 2009, by the EFCC, before Justice Abbas on a 47-count charge for breach of trust, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering to the tune of about N15 billion, are: Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, Alhaji Isa Sadiq Achida, Hajia Aishatu Binji, Sen. Salihu Bakwai, Alhaji Salihu Maibuhu Gunmi, Adamu Gurori, Alhaji Adamu Gurori, Alhaji Habibu Halilu Modaci, and Sambo Bello Danchadi. Others are Alhaji Abdullahi Ahmed Bida, Chief Mike Umeh, Alhaji Umaru Kwambo, Shehu Koko, Ubale Yahaya, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi and Alhaji Tukur Alkali.
During cross examination by the lead prosecuting counsel, Chief Jacob Ochidi, at the resumed sitting of the court, the state Auditor General, Alhaji Yusuf Nawawi, said Bafarawa, Dingyadi and former commissioner for finance, the late Alhaji Garba Mohammed, signed the MoU on behalf of the state government on one hand, while the former 23 local council chairmen signed the document on the other hand.
He told the court that the MoU was certified by the current SSG, Alhaji Sahabi Isa Gada, as the certified true copy, while the cash book was certified as true copy by the director of finance and supply in the Ministry of Local Government, Alhaji Ibrahim Umar.
Nawawi said withdrawals of N200 million monthly from the state and local government joint account by the office of the former SSG started between December 2002 and April 2005, whereas the MoU for the joint account was signed on October 24, 2004.
The lead defense counsel, Chief Abdul-Lateef Fagbemi, after cross-examining Nawawi, pleaded for adjournment of the case, while February 13 and 14 were fixed for the resumption of hearing on the matter.
Part of the charge reads: “That you, Alhaji Dalhatu Bafarawa, while being the executive governor of Sokoto State and Hajia Aishatu Binji whilst being the commissioner for finance of Sokoto State, Shehu Koko, the branch manager, UBA Plc Sokoto and Sokoto State Government accounts officer and others now at large between may 2003 and April 2007, and within the Jurisdiction of these honorable court, conspired, without any approval by the State executive council to sell UBA PLC shares belonging to Sokoto State government and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 96 ( 1 ) and punishable under section 97 ( 1 ) of the penal code”.