A former Minister of Water Resources Mukhtar Shehu Shagari and four others, were Tuesday arraigned before Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court, Sokoto.
Shagari is the son of former President Shehu Shagari, who was head of state between 1979 and 1983.
The defendants were docked on a five-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N500m.
Charged along with the former Minister were Senator Abdullahi Mohammmed Wali, Ibrahim Gidado, Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Ibrahim Milgoma.
It was gathered that through investigation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has established that the accused persons received various sums from the $115m allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Allison Madueke to senior members of the Peoples Democratic Party and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
According to the anti-graft agency, the defendants allegedly benefited from the slush cash which was not distributed through any financial institution in flagrant violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
One of the charges preferred against Shagari read: “You Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Gidado and Ibrahim Milgoma sometime in March 2015, within the justification of this honourable court did conspire among yourselves to receive cash payment of the sum of N500m from one Abdulrahaman Ibrahim without transacting through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16(2) of the same Act”.
All the defendants however pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Prosecution counsel, Johnson Ojogbane, requested a date for trial in view of the plea of the defendants and also asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.
Counsel representing the 1st,3rd and 4th defendants, Ibrahim Abdulaziz, as well as counsel for the 2nd and 5th defendants Ibrahim Idris, and L.A Abdulkadir, respectively applied for bail of their clients pending the determination of the case.
Responding, Ojogbane said that he was served with the various bail applications by the applicants but also reminded the court that he was only served on Monday and therefore needed time to respond.
Justice Idrissa after listening to the submissions of the parties remanded the defendants in police custody till Thursday, 24th May, 2018, to hear and determine the bail applications.