The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Tuesday, arraigned immediate past governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, his two sons – Aminu Sule Lamido and Mustapha Sule Lamido, Aminu Wada Abubakar and Batholomew Darlington Agoha, before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 27-count amended charge bordering on corruption and money laundering.
The other companies arraigned along with them were companies through which they allegedly perpetrated the fraud.
The companies are Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited, Bamaina Aluminium Limited and Speeds International Limited.
Lamido and his co-accused had been arraigned before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Kano State, on July 9 2015 for allegedly misappropriating funds belonging to Jigawa State.
Their case was later> transferred to the Federal High Court, Abuja, where Justice Gabriel Kolawole, a vacation judge, granted the accused persons bail, and adjourned the matter to September 22, 2015.
At the resumed hearing Tuesday, presided over by Justice Ademola, counsel to the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, presented the court with the amended charge, dated September 15, 2015, which added Agoha, manager of Speeds International Limited, as one of the accused persons.
The hearing which commenced at about 9.11am was, however, adjourned briefly to allow the registry to assign a new charge number to the amended charge sheet, since the case was originally heard in Kano.
On resumption, the charges were read to the accused persons.
One of the charges read: “That you Alhaji Sule Lamido (while being Governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria), Aminu Sule Lamido, Mustapha Sule Lamido, Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited, and Speeds International Limited between 15th October and 18th December, 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did convert an aggregate sum of N124,649,915 paid by Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited into the account of Speeds International Limited.”
Another charge read: “That you Alhaji Sule Lamido (while being the governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria), Aminu Sule Lamido, Mustapha Sule Lamido, Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited and Speeds International Limited between 8th January and 10th December, 2013 within the jurisdiction of this Honbourable Court took possession of an aggregate sum of N101,580,300 paid by Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited into the account of Bamaina Holdings Limited.”
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, thereafter, adjourned till October 21 and 22 for trial.
In a related development, the commission has invoked a section of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to convict an accused person, Uba Mohammed for refusing to appear in court after he was granted bail on June 10, 2013.
The accused person is standing trial before Justice Salisu Garba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on a two- count charge of Criminal Breach of Trust to the tune of N10million( Ten Million Naira).
The offence is punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
In view of his failure to face trial over a period of 10 adjournments, Justice Garba revoked the bail granted the accused person and issued a bench warrant against him.
At the resumed hearing today, prosecution counsel, Takon N. Ndifon, prayed the court to rule over the matter in the absence of the accused person.
While moving his plea, Ndifon said: “Section 352 sub-section 4 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act empowers your Lordship to go on with the matter after two consecutive adjournments, when there is no explanation from the accused as to his absence”.
He also added that subsection 4 “urges the court to go on with the matter and convict the accused, as the judge can only suspend the sentence.
Justice Garba adjourned to October 27, 2015 for ruling.