By Zubairu Idris
A Katsina State High Court on Tuesday granted a former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shema and three others N1 billion bail, with the condition that they should also provide one reliable surety each.
Others standing trial with the governor are former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Sani Makana, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government Affairs, Lawal Safana and former ALGON Chairman, Lawal Dankaba.
The accused persons are standing trial for alleged conspiracy, forgery and diversion of public funds amounting to N11 billion.
Justice lbrahim Bako granted bail to the accused person in a ruling he delivered at the resumed hearing of the trial.
The judge also held that the court has jurisdiction to try the case.
He said that the state’s Attorney-General has the right to initiate criminal proceedings against any person in any court of law.
Bako also held that EFCC as a federal government agency has the right to try any financial crime related cases in any court in Nigeria.
He adjourned the case to March 28 for continuation of hearing.
Earlier, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, the counsel to the accused persons urged the court to grant bail to his clients.
He argued that by virtue of their positions, the accused persons deserved to be granted bail since the offences they are charged with are bailable.
Daudu also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the trial.
The prosecutor, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), opposed the application for bail of the accused persons and urged the court to hold that it has the jurisdiction to entertain the trial.
He said that the offences allegedly committed by the accused persons contravene Sections 312 and 364, Cap 96 of the Penal Code, Laws of Katsina State, 1991.
Okutepa urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody.