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ALGON Fund Fraud: Katsina Gov’t Withdraws Suit Against Ex-Gov, Shema




ALGON Fund Fraud: Katsina Gov't Withdraws Suit Against Ex-Gov, Shema
Former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shema

Governor Aminu Bello Masari-led government of Katsina State has withdrawn its suit against former Governor Ibrahim Shema.

Naija News reports that Shema served as Katsina State Governor between 2007 through 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

However, the incumbent government of the state and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently dragged the former Governor and three others to court over the alleged misappropriation of the state Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) fund.

Shema and the 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, Naija News reports.

In the latest development, however, 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.

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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.