22 December 2012

Nigeria: Sokoto Govt Denies Intimidating Bafarawa With EFCC

Sokoto — Sokoto state government, has denied any act of harassment and intimidation in the charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa, pending before the State High Court.

Bafarawa was arraigned by the EFCC on a 144-count charge over alleged misappropriation of funds totalling about N15 billion during his tenure as governor of Sokoto state.

The denial was contained in a statement signed the EFCC Prosecuting Counsel, Barrister Jacob Ochidi, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY in Sokoto, Friday.

According to the statement, "our attention has been drawn to a petition sent to the Senate Committee on Drugs and Financial Crimes by Bafarawa alleging the use of the machinery of the EFCC by the government of Sokoto state to intimidate him."

"We would not like to join issues with the former governor as the matter is before the court but the way the petition was leaked to the press, compelled us to respond in order to put the record straight, "the statement read in part.

According to the statement, it was the former governor that wrote an open letter to the EFCC asking it to investigate his activities when he was a governor from 1999 to 2007.

It explained that it was sequel to that invitation, that the EFCC conducted investigation into his activities and in the course of that discovered several acts of corrupt practices and embezzlement of public funds against Bafarawa.

The statement averred that in the course of trial, Bafarawa and the 18 other accused persons, had urged the court to quash the charge against them, which application it refused holding that there was a prima facie case against them.

It added that the trial of the case had commenced in earnest, as the first prosecution witness, the Auditor General of Sokoto state, had already testified at the last hearing of the case November 26, 2012.

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