The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna, which had earlier ordered the trial of a former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, over allegations of N11bn fraud.
Shema, who was governor of the state between 2007 and 2011, is standing trial alongside Sani Makana, Lawal Safana and Ibrahim Dankaba.
Delivering ruling on the matter, a panel of the court led by Justice Sidi Bage held that the constitution empowered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute suspects of graft allegations at federal and state levels.
Bage also held that evidence placed before the apex court had shown that the respondent “front-loaded” necessary documents along with the charge sheet to the applicants to prepare their defence.
Bage said, “The action of the ex-governor and the three other applicants cannot tempt the court to overrule itself.
“The apex court took time to explain the powers of the EFCC to work within both federal laws and penal codes of states in ex-governors’ Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame’s similar applications.
“The full strength of the court met over this application and we have resolved not to overrule ourselves on an application that is clearly meritorious.
“In the circumstance, the application is dismissed on the grounds that the EFCC has the powers to prosecute anybody found to have committed fraud in any part of the country.
“The panel, therefore, affirms the judgment of the Appeal Court, Kaduna, delivered on September 13, 2017, which mandated the applicants to submit themselves to trial at the High Court of Katsina.”
EFCC had arraigned Shema and three others before Justice Maikaita Bako of Katsina’s High Court for allegedly defrauding the state during his eight-year reign as governor.
The applicants had approached the apex court asking it to set aside the decisions of the lower courts.
But with the latest verdict, the court has thrown out their prayers, setting the stage for a comprehensive trial.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )