N36bn fraud: Court didn’t acquit Turaki – EFCC

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BY MAYOWA SAMUEL

Uba Group

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said former governor of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki, has not been acquitted of the N36 billion money laundering charges filed against him.

According to a statement by the Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, on Friday, the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Hassan Dikko only struck out the case due to the absence of the commission’s prosecutor.

“Justice Hassan Dikko, in striking out the case on Thursday, premised his decision on the absence of the EFCC prosecutor in court and stated that the Commission is at liberty to proceed with the case when it is ready.

“Without prejudice to the decision by his Lordship, his position was not premised on the weight of the evidence by the prosecution or the lack of it. The substantive issues have not even been canvassed before his Lordship,” Uwujaren noted.

The Commission stated that it would return to court to conclude the case, which has already spanned 15 years.

The Federal High Court struck out the N36 billion fraud case brought against Turaki by the EFCC on Thursday.

Justice Dikko discharged the accused after the defence counsel prayed the court to strike out the case for lack of diligent prosecution, as neither prosecution nor witness showed up in court for the hearing.

In its statement, however, the EFCC pointed out that this was the first time the Commission would be absent from court since Justice Dikko took up the case in 2021.

“Most of the delays that hallmark this trial had been at the instance of the defendant. Turaki was first arraigned alongside three companies before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja on 13 July 2007.

“The case was transferred to the Federal High Court, Dutse in 2011 after Turaki successfully challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court Abuja to entertain the case.

“Then, Turaki jumped bail and, from 2011 till 2017, failed to appear in court until he was re-arrested in 2017. Since the trial resumed in 2018, the case had stalled largely on account of Turaki’s absence in court,” the statement said.