The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday re-arraigned a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, on a 43-count amended charge bordering on abuse of office and money laundering before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja.
The case had previously been heard by Justices Adeniyi Ademola and Babatunde Quadri before its eventual transfer to Justice Ojukwu by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati.
It would be recalled that, Mr Lamido had earlier challenged the transfer of his case at the Federal High Court, Abuja from Justice Adeniyi Ademola (now retired) to Justice Babatunde Quadri for determination.
Mr Lamido was arraigned alongside two of his sons – Aminu Lamido and Mustapha Lamido; Aminu Wada Abubakar, Bamaina Holdings Ltd and Speeds International Ltd for allegedly defrauding the state to the tune of N1.35 billion.
He allegedly abused his position as governor between 2007 and 2015 by awarding contracts to companies where he had interest, using his two sons as fronts.
The former governor was equally alleged to have collected kickbacks from contractors in the state, with the funds allegedly paid into accounts that were managed by his sons.
Particulars of count one of the new charge reads:
”That you, Alhaji Sule Lamido, while being the Governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria, on or about 15th of December, 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court in your account in the name of Bamaina Holdings (also referred to as Bamaina Holding Limited) domiciled at Unity Bank Plc, Kano, converted the sum of N14,850,000.00 (Fourteen Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) being the value of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc) cheque no;00000025 paid by Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Limited which represented the proceeds of your illegal act to wit: using your position as a public officer for gratification by purportedly obtaining contracts for company in which you have interest from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Limited which was awarded contracts by Jigawa Sate Government with the aim of concealing its illicit origin and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 14(1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and punishable under Section 14(1) of the same Act”.
Count forty of the charge reads:
“That you, Alhaji Sule Lamido, while being the Governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria, Aminu Sule Lamido, Mustapha Sule Lamido, and Speeds International Limited on or before 26th March, 2010 within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court retained in the account of Speeds Intl Ltd domiciled at Skye Bank Plc, Dutse the sum of N26,000,000.00 (Twenty Six Million) being the value of Skye Bank Plc cheque no.10000659 which funds you knew represented the proceeds of illegal act of Alhaji Sule Lamido who used his position as public officer for gratification by purportedly obtaining contracts for the said Speeds Intl Ltd, (a company in which he is a shareholder and director) from A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd which was awarded contracts by Jigawa State Government and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 16(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and punishable under Section 16 of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the counts.
In view of the defendants’ plea, Chile Okoroma, counsel to EFCC, urged the court to fix a date for trial.
However, counsel to the defendants, Joe Agi, informed the court of a pending application for the bail of the defendants. He added that the defendants were currently on bail for the same offence before another court. He further told the court that the defendants had also been granted administrative bail by the EFCC, and did not violate any of its terms.
Justice Ojukwu, thereafter, adjourned to November 22, 2018 for trial.