The former Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero has been re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) alongside three others on money laundering and criminal diversion of funds.
According to the report by EFCC, those also re-arraigned with the Ex-Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero were former Minister of State, Nuhu Somo Waya; former Kaduna State PDP Chairman, Abubakar Haruna Gaya and the former Secretary to the State Government, Hamza Ishaq.
They were arraigned on Tuesday, 27th November, 2018 before Justice Z.B Abubakar of the Federal High Court on an 8-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N700million (seven Hundred Million Naira) only.
Their prosecution began after investigations revealed that the accused persons allegedly benefited in the $115million diverted by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke which was shared to politicians and election officials in the 36 States of the federation to influence the result of the 2015 presidential election.
Investigations further revealed that Kaduna State benefitted over N700million in two instalments.
The money was received by the trio of Waya, Gaya and Ishaq on behalf of the State for onward delivery to INEC staff spread across the 23 Local Government Areas of the State.
Count one of the charge reads:
“That you, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero (whilst being the Executive Governor of Kaduna State), Nuhu Somo Waya (whilst being a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Ishaq Hamza (whilst being the Secretary to the Kaduna State Government), and Abubakar Gaya Haruna (whilst being the Chairman PDP Kaduna State Chapter), sometime in 2015 in Kaduna within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court (Federal High Court) did conspire amongst yourselves to commit a crime to wit: indirectly taking possession of the of N700, 000, 000 (Seven Hundred Million Naira) which you ought to have known forms part of unlawful activity to wit: bribery and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the Same Act”.
All defendants pleaded not guilty to all the eight count charge.
Upon their pleas, counsel to the EFCC, Joshua Saidi, prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
But Yunus Ustaz Usman, SAN, representing the defendants, appealed that all defendants should be admitted to the existing bail granted to them when they were first arraigned earlier in the year by the Court.
The court ruled that since all defendants have already been granted bail without any hitch, she would rely on the existing conditions. She therefore ruled that the former bail conditions remain valid and should stand.