Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday, 12 January 2023, closed its case in the money laundering charge against former Niger State Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu and two others: Tanko Beji and Umar Nasko, before Justice Mikail Aliyu of the Niger State High Court.
The trio are facing prosecution by the EFCC for alleged criminal breach of trust, conspiracy and diversion of ecological funds to the tune of over Two Billion Naira.
At today’s sitting, prosecution counsel Faruk Abdallah, relying on an application dated October 24 and filed on October 26, 2022, closed the case of the prosecution. Addressing the court, he said the prosecution through the testimonies of witnesses and documents tendered in the course of the trial had established a prima facie case against the defendants to warrant them to open their defence.
“The first defendant was the Executive Governor of Niger State; it presupposes therefore that by virtue of his position, he held the resources of his state in trust. A public office is a position of trust. Under the watch of the first accused person, monies were transferred from an account domiciled in Government House, the monies were diverted for personal gains. These facts have been sufficiently shown to the court through the prosecution witnesses and exhibits,” he said
Counsel to the first defendant, Oladije Ayodele, SAN, however informed the court that the prosecution failed to establish the crime and moved for a no case submission. “The prosecution has been unable to defend the charge. I wish to draw your lordship’s attention to state that there was no evidence of the crime. We are at a stage where we will look at the evidence. They are saying they have established a prima facie case, but my prayer is that they have not established a prima facie case.”
Also counsel to second defendant, Ibrahim Isiyaku, SAN, informed the court that the defence had entered a no case submission, adding that “the second defendant is standing trial for two counts, 1 and 3; conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. It was required of the prosecution to establish that the second defendant intentionally aided the first defendant to dishonestly convert certain sums of money for the use of the first accused person.
“The second charge relating to conspiracy cannot be sustained, we urge the court to sustain our submission, uphold a no case submission,” he said.
Counsel to the third defendant, Mamman Mike Osman, SAN, also informed the court that he has filed a no case submission and prayed the court to discharge the third defendant.
Responding to the submissions of the defence counsel, Abdallah urged the court to dismiss their no case submission and direct them to enter their defense.
Justice Mikail, thereafter adjourned till February 16, 2023 for ruling on the application.