N11 billion fraud allegations: Gov Masari withdraws case against Shema

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The government of Katsina State has withdrawn its suit against former Governor Ibrahim Shema over the alleged misappropriation of the state Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) fund.

Shema and three others were standing trial for allegedly conspiring to divert the sum of N11 billion from the state ALGON account as governor between the years under review.

The three others standing trial with the former governor include the former state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Sani Makana, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Lawal Rufa’i, and a former ALGON chairman Lawal Dankaba,

But the state government on Monday withdrew the misappropriation of the N11b case against the former Governor.

The Director of Public Prosecution of the State Ministry of Justice, Malam Abdulrahman Umar, confirmed this in a press briefing on Monday.

The anti-graft agency had hitherto filed 24-count charges bordering on the criminal breach of trust, fraud, conspiracy, and forgery, among others, against Shema. But he pleaded not guilty.

But according to Umar, the state government filed a Nolle prosequi regarding the suit.

“This is the power of a state attorney-general under Section 211 of the 1999 constitution as (amended), to either institute an action on a criminal case against any person before any court of law.

“The attorney-general can take over any criminal proceedings against any person, as well as the power to discontinue any case at any stage of the proceeding before judgment is entered. The attorney-general exercised that power and we went with it and the court gladly accepted the position of the attorney-general to discontinue the case.

“To that effect, the former governor and Lawal Dankaba were discharged from all charges against them. That is the position of the state government at the moment. But the EFCC’s case is still ongoing,” he explained.

Similarly, the Katsina Division of the Federal High Court has before it another trial between Shema and the EFCC in respect of the alleged 26-count charges bordering on money laundering involving the diversion of N5.7b from the Katsina Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) fund

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