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N450m Fraud: EFCC presents more witnesses against Yuguda, Shinkafi, others

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Ibrahim Sha’aban
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has presented three more witnesses in the ongoing trial of Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; former governor of Zamfara State, Mahmud Shinkafi; Aminu Nahuche and Ibrahim Mallaha before Justice Fatima Aminu of the Federal High Court, Gusau.

The quartet is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly collecting the sum of N450million Only from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deizani Allison-Madueke for the purpose of influencing the 2015 general elections.

In a statement on Thursday by the EFCC’s Head Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Prosecution Witness Two (PW2), Salihu Hussein, a branch manager with Fidelity Bank, Gusau Branch was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Musa Isah.

In his evidence, Hussein revealed to the court how the sum of N450,000,000 was delivered in a bullion van to the residence of the first defendant, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda on March 27, 2015 as instructed by the Fidelity Bank Headquarters.

During his cross-examination, the witness denied the knowledge that the said money has any connection with the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Deizani Allison-Madueke and that he was not aware that Allison-Madueke warehoused the sum of $115,000,000 in Fidelity Bank.

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While being cross-examined by counsel, representing the second defendant, Mahmud Shinkafi, the witness confirmed that the third and fourth defendants: Aminu Ahmed Nahuche and Ibrahim Mallaha were present at the bank to identify themselves before the money was taken to Yuguda’s house, where the duo took possession of the money.

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He, however, confirmed that ex-governor Shinkafi was not at the bank and that the said sum was never delivered to Shinkafi.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel Musa Isah, Prosecution Witness Three (PW3), Ibrahim Umar Dangaladima who was Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) secretary in Zamfara State during the 2015 general election disclosed to the court how the alleged sum was distributed among the local government areas of the state.

According to him, “On the 26th of March, 2015, we were invited to the residence of Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, myself and PDP state chairman.

“We met and Yuguda, who told us that the sum of Four Hundred and Fifty Million (N450,000,000) Only was sent for the purpose of election.

“We met and deliberated that a five-man committee should be formed for each local government and each committee was given Twenty Six Million (N26,000,000) per local government,” he said.

He affirmed that Yuguda gave the instruction that the money be given to his committee.

The PW3 further disclosed to the court that the executives of his committee were given N2million, in which he said, he benefited N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only, disclosing that he has refunded the to EFCC.

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Prosecution Witness Four (PW4) is Mohammed Abul Mustapha, the PDP Chairman of Gusau Local Government.

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In his evidence he revealed that he was invited to the first defendant’s house where he was given N46million (Forty Six Million Naira), and disclosed how the said money was distributed to 324 polling units within the local government.

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“I was invited to the residence of Bashir Yuguda and I was given N46million (Forty Six Million Naira) to take to Garba Bwai, who was responsible for coordinating Gusau Local Government.

After I took the money to him, he shared the money to people that are responsible for each polling unit. Each polling unit got One Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira (N130,000.00) Only,” PW4 said.

Earlier in the trial, Prosecution Witness One (PW1), Odia Akpofure who was the Head of Operations at the Gusau branch of Fidelity Bank at the time of the transaction concluded his cross-examination in which he revealed that he was the one who received instructions on the disbursement of the money to the third and fourth defendants from the bank’s headquarters.

He also revealed that the instructions came through mail.

Before the proceeding began, Justice Aminu had delivered a short ruling where she found the first defendant guilty of forging hospital medical report, but after listening to the explanation of the first defendant, the Honorable Judge set aside the ruling she earlier made.

It could be recalled that at the last adjourned date, the first defendant was absent in court due to ill health and the court mandated EFCC to verify the authenticity of the medical report brought by the counsel to the first defendant.

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Upon investigating the purported medical report, the hospital in their reply to EFCC, said that the medical report did not emanate from it and that the first defendant does not have their hospital card.

After counsel to Yuguda made his submission in respect of the medical report the judge decided to give Yuguda a chance to tell his story regarding the medical report.

In his own evidence, Yuguda said the medical report was altered. He said that he instructed his children to send the documents of his medical examination to court but they panicked when they heard that his bail was going to be revoked for his failure to appear in court thus, they altered the medical report.

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On the issue of him not being a registered patient with the hospital, Yuguda brought his patient’s card to court which indicated that he is registered patient of Federal Medical Centre Abuja.

Base on the new facts, Justice Aminu set aside her ruling and allowed him to continue to enjoy his bail.

The matter was been adjourned till November 20 and 21, 2019 for continuation of trial.

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