Chris Steven, Abuja
THE Federal High Court, Sokoto on Tuesday remanded Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, a former Minister of Water Resources alongside four others in the police custody over alleged N23billion election money received from DeizanAllison Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Shagari alongside Abdullahi Mohammmed Wali, Ibrahim Gidado, Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa and Ibrahim Milgoma were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court Sokoto on a five-count charge of Conspiracy and Money Laundering to the tune of N500 million.
Justice Kolo who adjourned the hearing to Thursday, May 24, 2018 after listening to the arguments exchanged by their counsels and that of the EFCC remanded them in police custody till that Thursday.
They landed in trouble when EFCC got information that they received various sums from the $115m allegedly disbursed by Madueke to senior members of the then ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
The Commission alleged they 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 reads, “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 N500 million 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”.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
Johnson Ojogbane ,prosecution counsel 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 confirmed that he was served with the various bail applications by the applicants but also reminded the court that he was only served yesterday (May 21 ) and therefore needed time to respond.