The arraignment of a former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others could not go on today as planned following a motion by the defendants challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the competency of the charge.
Shema is being charged alongside three others, Sani Hamisu Makana, Lawal Ahmad Safana and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Katsina State High Court for the alleged offences of criminal breach of trust, abuse of office and conversion of public funds to the tune of over Eleven Billion Naira during his tenure as governor.
When the case was called today, counsel for the accused persons, J.B Daudu SAN brought a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court and the competency of the charge. However, the prosecution Counsel J.S Okutepa SAN filed a counter affidavit in reply to the motion.
The prosecution also asked that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody until the next adjourned date. Okutepa told the court that the first accused person violated the terms of the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC. But Daudu argued that since the court is yet to assume jurisdiction to hear the matter, such application should not have come up at this stage.
Justice Bako refused the prosecution application for remand and adjourned the matter to February 7, 2017 for hearing of the motions on notice after which the issue of arraignment would be determined.
One of the charge read that “You Ibrahim Shehu Shema whilst being the Governor of Katsina, Sani Hamisu Makana whilst being Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Katsina State, Lawal Ahmad Safana whilst being the Permanent Secretary for Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs of Katsina State and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba whilst being the Chairman Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Katsina State Chapter, between September 2012 and May 2015 at Katsina, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court were entrusted with certain property to wit; an aggregate sum of N4,463,600,000 (Four Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty Three Million, Six Hundred Thousand Nairn Only) committed a criminal breach of trust in respect of the said sum by transferring it from Katsina State Joint Local Government Account domiciled at Access Bank , Katsina Branch to the account of ALGON domiciled at Union Bank, Katsina Branch and subsequently withdrew same and dishonesty convert it to your personal use (under various guises including funding security intervention fund to all the 34 local governments in Katsina State and falsely described in several payment vouchers and memos) and thereby committed and offence contrary to section 311 and punishable under section 312 of Penal Code Cape 96 Laws of Katsina State, 1991.