Katsina – The Federal High Court, Katsina, has granted bail to the former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, who is standing trial on alleged N5.7 billion money laundering charge.
The EFCC arraigned Shema on a 26- count charge bordering on alleged money laundering of N5.7 billion SURE-P state funds.
The trial had to start afresh following the transfer of the trial judge, Justice Babagana Ashigar, who was replaced with Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari.
The charges contravene section 15 (2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same act.
When the charges were read to him again, Shema pleaded not guilty to all the 26 counts leveled against him.
The defense counsel, Mr A.T Kehinde, (SAN), moved application for his client to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted to him.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Jibrin Okutepa, (SAN), did not object to the bail application of the defendant.
He informed the court that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act provided that an accused already granted bail could continue to enjoy the terms of the previous bail conditions.
The previous bail conditions, the court directed the defendant to deposit his international passport in the court registry.
Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari, therefore, granted the former governor bail on the conditions previously provided by the court and adjourned the case to Nov. 13, for trial.
Shema is also standing trial before Katsina State High Court for alleged diversion of about N11 billion state funds during his tenure.
The EFCC had tendered in evidence, some documents against Shema, and three others which the defense counsel objected to.
The other people involved in the trial are the former commissioner for local government affairs, Sani Makana, the former permanent secretary in the ministry, Lawal Rufai and the ex-ALGON Chairman, Lawal Dankaba.
The court fixed Nov. 12, for ruling on the admissibility or otherwise of the documents. (NAN)