The trial of a former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema before Justice Babagana Ashgar of the Federal High Court sitting in Katsina could not go on today June 12, 2018 following an application brought by the defendant challenging the competency of the charge.
The application was moved by counsel representing the defendant, J.B Daudu SAN asking the court to quash the 26 count charge against his client on the grounds that the star witness, one Nasiru Salisu Ingawa is being prosecuted for the same offence by the ICPC at the Katsina State High Court.
According to him it is an abuse of court process to continue with current matter until that issue is resolved.
Daudu also asked the court to declare section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA which says all application shall be taken along with the substantive case at the judgment stage.
The learned silk insisted that his application be taken and ruling on same delivered before the trial of the substantive matter commences.
Counsel for the prosecution, Okutepa ,SAN opposed the prayer of the defence counsel and urged the court to take the application but reserve ruling until the end of the substantive matter.
Okutepa further argued that tere is nothing to show that Nasiru Ingawa and Ibrahim Shema are the same people.” It is not an abuse of court process to prosecute different defendants in different courts for different offences or similar offences with different jurisdiction for different allegations even if they confederate in the crime”.
“On the issue of jurisdiction raised by the learned silk where he said this does not fall under section 396(2) of ACJA, the jurisdiction of this court to try money laundering offences is statutory and is exclusive to it, it does not share with state high court. I refer my Lord to section 20 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011”, he added.
The prosecution counsel also urged the court to be cautious of a very dangerous invitation that was extended to his lordship to declare section 396(2) as unconstitutional, “I urge my Lord to refuse that invitation”.
In reply to a case of forfeiture proceeding mentioned by the defence counsel as pending against the defendant, Okutepa said that case is against a property not the defendant.
After listening to arguments from both parties, justice Ashgar upheld the argument of the prosecution that all applications regarding jurisdiction and competency of the charge shall be taken along with the substantive case at the judgment stage.
He subsequently dismissed the application for ruling before the trial begins and adjourned the matter to the 15th and 16th of October, 2018 for trial.
Media and Publicity
13 June, 2018
13 June, 2018