Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
A Sokoto State High Court, in Sokoto will, on Tuesday, deliver judgment in the alleged N15 billion corruption charges brought against a former governor of the state, Attahiru Bafarawa by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Bafarawa, who was a two-terms governor between 1999 and 2007, is facing a 33-count charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against him since 2009.
The charges border on corruption, illegal sale of government shares, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen properties and unauthorised payments allegedly committed between 2003 and 2007 of his tenure.
The Judge, Justice Bello Abbas, who is also the Chief Judge of the state, is expected to deliver judgment today after counsels to the two parties adopted their written addresses and closed their cases.
Bafarawa is standing trial alongside Beedash Nigeria Ltd, Nasdalbap Nigeria Ltd, Nasiru Bafarawa and Salihu Maibuhu-Gummi.
During the trial, lead Defence counsel, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), argued that the EFCC had not provided any evidence in respect of 11 of the charges while the ingredients of proof on the 22 other charges were not sufficient to warrant conviction.
Fagbemi also prayed the court to regard Bafarawa as “an honest complainant turned accused’’ in view of the fact that he first reported the fraud case to anti-graft agency in 2006.
According to him, Bafarawa took the right step as whistleblower before circumstances turned against him to become the accused.
He urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused on the ground that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
In his submission, EFCC lead counsel, Jacob Ochidi, had prayed the court to consider the evidences provided in the course of the trial and convict Bafarawa accordingly.
Meanwhile, Police in Sokoto have tightened security measures within the state capital ahead of the court verdict.
The police also mounted blockages on major roads that link the Court while the passers-by were subjected to stop and search.
The former governor had arrived the courtroom at about 8:54a.m. with staunch of political associates in a white coaster bus.