From Lawal Sa’idu Funtua, Katsina
A Katsina State High Court yesterday began the trial of ex-governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others over alleged fraud of N11 billion.
Those arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, along with the former governor include: former commissioner of local government, AlhajiSani Hamisu Makana, former ALGON chairman, Alhaji Lawal Dankaba and former permanent secretary ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs, Alhaji Lawal Rufa’i Safana.
Shema, along with the three others, were arraigned before the court on 24 count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, fraud and using forged documents.
Some of the charges were contrary to sections 96, 311, 363, 366 and 85 of the penal code, cap 96 laws of Katsina State.
All the four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
After taking their plea, both the prosecution and defense counsels told the court that they were ready for the trial.
The prosecution counsel, Lattef Fagbemi, SAN, then presented a witness who was the former Auditor-General of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Dabo, who retired in 2004.
Dabo told the court that he was appointed by the state government as chairman of the committee to investigate the finances of the 34 local government councils during the tenure of the former governor Shema.
Fagbemi asked Dabo to explain his committee findings to the court.
The defense counsel, Joseph Daudu, SAN, drew the attention of the court that such a report is better formally presented instead of oral presentation.
The witness consequently agreed to present the committees report if given time to do so.
The prosecution counsel then asked for adjournment of the case to enable the witness to testify before the court properly.
The judge, Justice Ibrahim Maikaita, then adjourned the case to May 30 and 31 for continuation of the hearing.