N15bn Fraud: Appeal Court Voids Gov. Tambuwal’s Pardon to 2 Suspects

Pardon granted by Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal to two key suspects earlier arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly fraud of N15bn belonging to the Sokoto State government, has been voided.
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto and presided over by Justice Hannatu Sankey on Thursday voided the amnesty to the former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi and Isa Sadiq Achida.
The court said they were yet to take their plea in the case prosecuted by the EFCC, when the Governor granted them pardon, basing his decision on his prerogative as a Governor.
The court in a judgments in two appeals lodged by the EFCC against the pardon, held that it was immature for Governor Tambuwal to grant the amnesty to the suspects when the case was still ongoing and no verdict reached by the court.
The judgment read by Justice Sankey and Justice Ndukwe-Anyawu, held that it was premature to grant pardon to persons who had neither been tried nor convicted, as they were still innocent at the time the Governor decided to grant them pardon.
The Judges noted that the two persons remain innocent until tried and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The panel therefore ordered the suspects to undergo trial and prepare to defend themselves against the charges pressed against them. Consequently, the Court set aside the instrument of pardon as well as the discharge of the accused persons by the trial court.
The Appeal Court further ordered that the two accused persons be tried by another Judge of the State High Court other than Justice Bello Abbass who handled the initial trial.
It will be recalled that the accused persons were being tried alongside former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, over a N15bn fraud.
Justice Abbas who had delivered a ruling on the matter, discharged them alongside three others, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah and one Alhaji Halilu Modachi.
Their discharge was sequel to a motion filed by the accused persons seeking to be discharged from further criminal proceedings based on a pardon granted to them by the Sokoto State Governor.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, the EFCC approached the Appeal Court sitting in Sokoto praying that the ruling of the lower court be set aside.

Author: News Editor

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