N1.1bn fraud: EFCC appeals Bauchi gov son’s acquittal
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed an appeal challenging the High Court judgment that discharged and acquitted Shamsudeen, son of the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, on N1.1bn fraud charges.
The anti-graft agency appealed the decision which discharged and acquitted the respondent on nine counts before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
On February 1, 2017, Shamsudeen was arraigned before the court on 20 counts bordering on money laundering.
The EFCC alleged that Shamsudeen made payments of huge sums in cash for the purchase of properties in different parts of Abuja without going through a financial institution.
Delivering the ruling on a no-case submission on December 14, 2021, Justice Dimgba upheld Shamsudeen’s submission in part by dismissing 11 out of the 20 charges.
He was left to defend himself for his failure to declare some of his bank accounts and the amount in them to the EFCC.
Delivering judgment in a suit marked FHC/BAJ/CR/252/2016 on February 7, 2023, Justice Dimgba held that the EFCC failed to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the allegations that the defendant forged signatures and documents to access illegal funds, the judge said the anti-graft agency’s forensic expert did not provide sufficient evidence to prove the charge.
“An allegation that a document is forged is a criminal allegation that must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and not by speculation,” he said.
The judge held that the burden of proof rests on the prosecution, adding that it did not discharge the burden beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge also ordered the prosecution to refund Mohammed’s son’s N580,000 and $60,000 as well as other items taken from his apartment in the course of executing the search warrant on his apartment.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the anti-graft agency has filed a notice of appeal before an Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, praying the court to set aside the judgment.
The appeal is predicated on 13 grounds and seeks only one relief: “an order allowing the appeal, setting aside the judgment of the Honourable Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja dated 7th day of February and in its place entering an order convicting and sentencing the Respondent”.
In one of the grounds of the appeal, EFCC stated, “The trial court erred in law by holding that the case of the Appellant against the Respondent on Count 11 of the Charge was not proved beyond reasonable doubt.”