Re-arraignment of Bauchi Governor-elect Stalled Due to Absence of Judge

The arraignment of Bala Mohammed, who is the governor-elect of Bauchi State, failed to take place Monday due to the absence of the Judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu of an FCT High Court, Jabi, Abuja.

Despite the presence in court of Mohammed and the EFCC counsel, the court did not sit.

It was learnt that Justice Halilu was on election petition duty in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Reacting to the question of arraigning Mohammed now few weeks to his swearing in as Governor, Counsel for the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, said: “The EFCC is an anti-corruption agency, it does not play politics.

“It exists to serve the public.”

He said: “It is a matter that was ongoing before another judge who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal.”

The expectation he said was that the matter would soon be reassigned to another judge.

“Just a week ago, the registry of this court sent us a notice that today has been fixed for the re-arraignment of the defendant.

“It was not at the instance of the court.

“You know when a case is transferred to another court, it starts de novo (afresh).”

He added that no one should see what was happening as an attempt by the EFCC to intimidate anyone.

“Let us focus on the matter before the court. EFCC exists to serve everybody,” he said.

Mohammed will be re-arraigned on six counts bordering on false declaration of assets and giving false information to the EFCC.

The EFCC said of the re-arraignment: “There are some properties he bought which he did not disclose to the EFCC that were discovered. The details will be unveiled when the charges will be read to him. A renowned legal practitioner and the EFCC counsel, Wahab Shittu, has been assigned to prosecute Bala Mohammed, before a new judge.”

Count five of the charges reads: “That you, Bala A. Mohammed, on or about October 24, 2016 at the head office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja, within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, made a false statement to the detective, Ishaya Dauda, investigating officer with the Economic Governance Section of the EFCC, Abuja to wit:

“That you acquired house situate at No. 2599 and 2600, Cadastral Zone AO4 Asokoro District Abuja through a mortgage facility from Aso Savings & Loan Bank Plc and you thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 09 (2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 39(2)(b) of the same Act.”

Mohammed had vowed to probe his predecessor, adding that his trial by the EFCC was politically-motivated.

He said: “It is completely politically-motivated but I believe in justice and that was why I went to the court of justice. Because of the evidence that we have, he is going to be thoroughly probed because I have not been spared by the Federal Government.

“I have been under probe by the EFCC and because I believe in accountability and was influential in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, I chose not to run away.

“I will stand and answer all questions. I have passed the first battle by winning my case against the Federal Government on human rights, for arbitrarily imprisoning me and then calling me names. Of course, N5m has been awarded in my favour and the next one is the other spurious charges against me. I believe in justice and equity.”

Author: News Editor

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