A Sokoto State High Court has discharged and acquitted former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa of the alleged N13 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Nation reports.
Salihu Maibuhu Gummi and Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, younger brother to the PDP presidential aspirant, were also discharged and acquitted.
Justice Bello Abbas noted that the evidence advanced by the prosecuting counsel lacked substance, was contradictory and imaginary and therefore did not substantially prove the case of fraud against the plaintiff.
Bafarawa, who was governor of Sokoto State from 1999 to 2007, is accused of fraudulent transactions, and the case has lasted over eight years.
The former governor, with 17 others, faced a 144-count charge in 2009. The charges were however reduced to 34 with some of the accused dropped for lack of evidence against them, others granted state pardon and some deceased.
Justice Abbas said the count charges had dropped to 22 with only three persons standing trial.
According to him, the accused persons were discharged and acquitted on grounds that the case could not be established beyond reasonable doubt.
Bafarawa said justice would always prevail when your hands are clean, quoting President Muhammadu Buhari that “Bafarawa was not a thief when they arrested him in Abuja over the issue”.
He wondered why he was accused of misappropriating N13 billion when he left N12 billion in the state coffers, another N500 million in the account of the Sultan Muhammadu Maccido Institute for Quranic and General Studies, and an additional N1 billion iron rods investment for the state.
“I call on President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC to investigate these facts so that Nigerians will be convinced that the fight against corruption is not biased,” he added.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) described the ruling as “shocking and unacceptable”.