Appeal Court Reverses Tambuwal’s Pardon on Sokoto Officials over N15bn Fraud
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Sokoto and presided over by Justice Hannatu Sankey has, in two separate appeals, voided the state pardon granted to some former officials of the state who were prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC at the Sokoto state High Court.
Delivering the lead judgments in the two appeals filed by the EFCC against Alhaji Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi (former SSG) and Isa Sadiq Achida, Justice Sankey and Justice Ndukwe-Anyawu both held that the governor’s pardon was invalid since the accused persons were still undergoing trial.
The judge further held that the accused person who had not been convicted was presumed innocent and therefore could be validly granted state pardon by the governor.
Consequently, the Court set aside the instrument of pardon as well as the discharge of the accused persons by the trial court.
The appeal court further ordered that the two accused persons be tried by another judge of the State High Court other than Justice Bello Abbass who handled the initial trial.
It would be recalled that the accused persons were being tried alongside former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, over a N15billion fraud.
A Sokoto State High Court presided over by Honourable Justice Bello Abbas delivered a ruling which discharged them alongside three others, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah and one Alhaji Halilu Modachi. Their discharge was sequel to a motion filed by the accused persons seeking to be discharged from further criminal proceedings based on a pardon granted to them by the Sokoto State Governor.
Dissatisfied with the ruling of the lower court, the EFCC approached the court of appeal sitting in Sokoto praying that the ruling of the lower court be set aside.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
Magu Charges Professionals, Businesses on Illicit Financial Flows
Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has called on critical stakeholders in the Nigerian financial landscape, to rally round the anti-graft agency in curbing illicit financial flows in the business sector.
“Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, ML/FT are financial crimes with significant negative economic and security impacts, and no nation can prosper where money laundering and terrorist financing is endemic,” he said.
Magu gave the charge on November 28, 2018 at the opening of a two-day workshop, held at the Dennis Hotel, Abuja, aimed at sensitizing self-regulatory bodies and trade associations in the Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, DNFBPs.
Represented by Bamanga Bello, Director, Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, Magu noted that the workshop tagged, “Effective Implementation of AML/ CFT Measures in the DNFBPs Sector in Nigeria”, was essential in creating awareness on the adverse effect of illicit financial flows on the Nigerian economy, and to build capacity for the DNFBPs in Nigeria.
He said: “We are constantly faced with the devastating effects of money laundering and terrorism globally and sadly, this includes Nigeria.
“It has been established that Nigeria is one of the most terrorized countries in the world. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) released in November, 2017 ranked Nigeria as the third most terrorized country in the world which also suggests high level of terrorist financing activities in Nigeria as planning and execution of any act of terrorism requires funding.
“There is a need to change the narrative on the anti-corruption fight following the 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which was released by Transparency International (TI) and ranked Nigeria 148 out of 180 assessed countries, more work need to be done.”
“We are living witnesses to the despicable state of basic infrastructure in Nigeria, owing largely to the pilfering away of public assets, which has affected our collective economic wellbeing as well as security of lives and property in Nigeria.”
He, therefore, used the medium to call on all Nigerians to be proactive, and join hands with the anti-graft agency, in order to ensure a paradigm shift and kick corruption out from Nigeria.
In his remarks, Emmanuel Uche, Program Manager, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, RoLAC, said “the objective of the workshop was to sensitize the target audience on the reporting and compliance obligations under the Nigerian AML/ CFT laws and regulations and to enhance awareness on how such organizations could be used by money launderers and terrorist financiers to perpetrate their unscrupulous activities”.
He commended the EFCC for its efforts in combating illicit financial flows, noting that, “the EFCC is not one of the organizations in Nigeria that anyone can say is sleeping, the work done by EFCC through the SCUML and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU is very significant via the preventive measures such as this workshop”.
Francis Usani, Director, NFIU, represented by Mustapha Abdulrahman, Head Monitoring and Analysis, NFIU, said: “Fighting corruption is fighting a global battle and the true victims of corruption may never know how much they have been short changed so while looking at the global picture we need to do our little part individually to curb this menace.”
The workshop was organized by SCUML, in partnership with the British Council, under RoLAC, and is in preparation for the forthcoming of Financial Action Task Force, FAFT/ Inter-Government Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA mutual evaluation of the Nigerian Anti Money Laundering/Counter Financing Terrorism, AML/CFT regime coming up in September/ October 2019.
Participants of the forum included Self-Regulatory Bodies (SRBs): Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, ANAN, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria Nigeria, APBN, Housing Developers Cooperative Society, HDSC, Estate Surveyors and Registration Board of Nigeria, ESVARBON, Nigeria Network of NGOs, NNNGOs.
Also, in attendance were Trade Associations in the DNBPs sector including; Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, REDAN, Motor Dealers Association of Nigeria, MDAN, Nigeria Hotel Association, NHA, Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN, Association of Casino Operators of Nigeria, ACON, National Association of Supermarkets Operators of Nigeria, NASON, Jewellery Marketers Association of Nigeria, JMAN, Hotel Owners Forum Abuja, HOFA, Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN.
Representatives of Government Regularly Authorities including National Lottery Regulatory Commission, NLRC, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN and Ministry Budget and National Planning, MBNP were also present at the forum.
Papers evaluated during the workshop included the overview of the relevant international standards on AML/CFT as it relates to DNFBPs, the role and functions of SCUML in the implementation of AML/CFT measures in the DNFBPS sector in Nigeria and an overview of the Nigerian AML/CFT regime and compliance obligations of DNFBPs.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
29th November, 2018