Alleged N5.7bn money laundering: Court grants Shema bail

Alleged N5.7bn money laundering: Court grants Shema bail

A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina, on Friday granted the former governor of Katsina state, Ibrahim Shema bail on self recognition. Shema was governor of the state from 2007 to 2015.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Shema is standing trial before the court on 26 count charge bordering on money laundering, amounting to N5.7 billion SURE-P funds during his tenure.

The counsel to the defendant, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, filed a bail application of the defendant under section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

He also told the court that the defendant relied on sections 158, 162 and 165 sub (1) of the Criminal Administration Justice Act (ACJA) to solicit for the bail.

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Daudu said that the defendant is presumed to be innocent until the determination of the case by the court.

He also drew attention to the fact that the defendant was a former governor of Katsina State for two terms. Therefore, has right to bail and would not breach the bail conditions if granted.

He urged the court to grant the bail application, as the defendant was ready to comply with the terms and conditions of the court.

The prosecution counsel, Dr J.O Olatoke, SAN, objecting to the bail application, said that there are intelligent reports that the defendant might jump bail if granted to him.

He said that Shema had already applied to a Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking for the release of his international passport, which is in the complainant custody (EFCC).

Olatoke urged the court to refuse the bail application.

In his ruling on the matter, the judge, Justice Babagana Ashigar, granted the bail to the defendant on self recognition.

Ashigar also said that bail was based on the conditions stipulated in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

"The court considered section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and sections 162, 163 and 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to grant the bail,’’ he said.

He, however directed the defendant to deposit his international passport at the court registry, if in possession of it.

He adjourned the case to June 12 for further hearing on the matter and for the defendant to comply with the conditions.

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Shema is also standing trial before Katsina State High Court for allegedly misappropriating N11 billion belonging to the State/Local Government Joint Account during his tenure.

Recall that earlier reported that a Federal High Court sitting in Katsina on Tuesday, April 24, ordered that the former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema be remanded in EFCC custody until April 27, for alleged money laundering.

Shema pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.

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