A Katsina High Court has fixed November 12 for ruling on the admissibility of some documents tendered in evidence by the EFCC against ex-governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State and three others accused of diverting about N11 billion state funds.
The three other persons are a former commissioner for local government, Sani Makana, ex-permanent secretary in the ministry, Lawal Rufa’i and ex-ALGON chairman, Lawal Dankaba.
During the proceedings on Tuesday, an EFCC Senior Detective Superintendent, Abubakar Buba, told the court that he was among those who investigated the alleged financial crimes based on a petition.
He said the petition bordered on alleged diversion of public funds, contract inflation and abuse of office by Mr Shema during his tenure.
Mr Buba said the team discovered diversions running into billions of naira from the State/Local Government Joint Account through the operational account of the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs into ALGON account.
He said the team also discovered minutes of meeting allegedly held in 2014, where 30 per cent of the monthly allocation of the 34 Local Government Councils be used for joint projects and 10 per cent of their quarterly allocations be used for security in the areas.
Mr Buba told the court that during interview with the then council chairmen, they denied having such meetings, with the exception of seven ALGON officials who were also LGC’s chairmen.
He said they also recovered 14 payment vouchers containing receipts and invoices of purchases made during the period.
‘’The team noticed that most of the addresses reflected on the receipts and invoices were not in existence with the exception of two.
‘’We went to the shops where they confirmed to us that ALGON never made such purchases,’’ he said.
Mr Buba also said the team recovered bank opening balance, bank statements of account of the State Joint Account and ministry for local governments, and certificate of identification from the banks.
Mr Shema’s counsel, Adedayo Adedeji, objected to the documents be tendered in mevidence.
“Witness is not a maker of the document and cannot tender such in evidence according to section 83 of the Evidence Act.
‘’The documents are from banks, I will be deprived of my right to cross examination,’’ he said.
He urged the court to reject the documents.
The prosecution counsel, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, said the law provided that investigating security officer can tender evidence in case of investigation.
‘’We need not to have a maker of document before Principal Witness is qualified to tender evidence,’’ he said.
He urged the court to admit the documents in evidence.
The judge, Ibrahim Maikaita Bako, therefore, adjourned the case to November 12, for ruling on the admissibility of the documents.