N11bn SURE-P fund: “We were asked to implicate Shema” – more witnesses told court
A witness in the trial within trial of former Governor of Katsina State Ibrahim Shehu Shema on Monday told Justice Maikaita Bako of the State High Court that at a meeting held at Economic and Financial Crime Commission office on the November 16th, 2016, the EFCC counsel , Mr. O. I. Uket told them that he “has gone through the case files and all the statements and he has not seen anything tangible that they can go to court with and that is why they invited us if any of us can add to our statement”.
It could be recalled that during the trial of former Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others, former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Hamisu Makana, former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lawal Rufai and former state chairman ALGON, Ibrahim Dankaba in alleged N11 billion fraud in a case filed by EFCC before the Katsina State High Court, one of the defendants, Ibrahim Dankaba told the court that his statement to the EFCC was obtained under duress to implicate former Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema, the development which made the court to order for trial within trial based on the application of the Counsel to the defendant, Barr. Ahmed Aliyu.
In continuation of the trial within trial on Monday, one of the defence witnesses, Sani Hamisu Makana told the court that apart from the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Uket, also at the meeting were, three EFCC operatives, Mr. Edward, Abu Fari and Abubakar Buba, including Katsina State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ahmed El Marzuk, Special Assistant to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Rabe Nasir, former Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lawal Rufai, former state chairman ALGON, Ibrahim Dankaba and two other state ALGON officials, Nasir Yat Allah and Hussain Dambo.
“My lord, immediately Mr Uket said there is nothing tangible to prosecute the case, Rabe Nasir (S. A. to Governor Masari) interjected that they have enough evidence to prosecute whoever they want to prosecute and they only invited us to see if any of us can change his statement to implicate Shema and be on their side so that he can be free from investigation and future prosecution.
“None of us utter any word. At that point Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ahmed El Marzuk added that it is good if we can open up to implicate Shema. And if any of us is ready to cooperate with them, they are ready to free the person”.
Another defense witness, Lawal Rufai during the trial within trial testified that he was at the meeting and that it was true that EFCC lawyer Mr. Uket told them that nothing tangible found from the Commission investigation, the position he maintained during the cross-examination by EFCC counsel, Mr. Uket himself.
The Defense Counsel, Uyi Igunma later sought for court adjournment to enable him present other witnesses. The case was subsequently adjourned to May 27th, 2019 by Justice Maikaita Bako.
Another issue that took the attention of many observers and pundits within and outside the state is the fact that in defiance to the normal culture, no government representative attended the court sitting today.