Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
The Federal High Court, sitting in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, presided over by Justice Basse Onu, on Thursday, has remanded immediate past governor of the state, Alhaji Saadu Usman Dakingari, one Sunday Dogoyaro and one Garba Kamba in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in Birnin-Kebbi, pending the ruling on their bail application on December 10, 2018.
The Defendants were standing trial on 13 counts charge level against them by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged conspiracy and money laundering.
They were alleged to have committed money laundry of N450 million, part of $115 million and 115 million dollars collected from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Alison-Madueke contrary to section 1A of Money Laundry Act 2015 punishable under section 16(2B) among other.
The lead Counsel to the EFCC,J.A Ojogbane told the Court that the defendants were in Court and they should take their pleas, and urged the Court that the 13 counts charge be read to them for immediate commencement of their trial. He told the Court that they were ready for the trial along with their witnesses.
However, all the Defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge as the Prosecutor leading counsel asked the court to commence their trial immediate.
Counsel to the 1st Defendant, Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) while applying for the 1st defendants bail, told the Court that his client was the former Governor of Kebbi State without record of criminal cases argued that he would not jumped bail if granted.
He also pleaded before the Court that the Judge should rule in the interim on his client’s bail application by remanding the 1st Defendant in Kebbi or Sokoto states remand facilities of the EFCC to avoid long distance and stress that his client would encounter on his way to Kano State, the Zonal office of the EFCC.
The Counsel to the Second Defendant, O. A Dada, in his application for bail, supported with 21 paragraphs affidavit and argued that if Court granted his client bail, he would not dishonour the Court by not making himself available.
He argued that he has been punctual consistently since the commencement not the case before the Court.
He also pleaded that if his client would be remanded, they would align the submission of the 1st Defendant that the EFCC custody in Birnin-Kebbi and Sokoto State should be considered as alternatives.
Counsel to the 3rd Defendant, Ahmed Fingilla, in his application before the court, argued that his client hads represented Nigeria in many countries as a Diplomat with a track record without blemish, stressing that the Prosecutor had also testified that the 3rd Defendant was the accused person that honoured the EFCC invitation at their Kano office as well regularly appeared before the Court since the case commence in June, 2018.
He also pleaded before the Court that his client should be remanded in Birnin-Kebbi or Sokoto State remand facilities of the EFCC if the Court rule in an interim, before the ruling on the bail.
Responding to the Defendant’s Counsels bail applications, EFCC Counsel, J. A. Ojogbane, who did not object to their applications, appealed to the Court to use its discretion in granting the bail applications, maintaining that the anti-graft agency has remand facilities in Birnin-Kebbi and Sokoto State where the Defendants could be remanded before the adjourned date.
While ruling on their bail applications, Justice Onu order that the three Defendants remanded in Birnin-Kebbi remand facilities of EFCC pending the final ruling on their bail application on December 10, 2018 and adjourned the case for ruling and trial on the same date.