The Federal High Court, Abuja, Thursday, struck out the indictment case against two former governors of Bauchi State, Malam Isah Yuguda and Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar over alleged misappropriation of the state’s assets estimated at N321.5 billion.
Bala Mohammed, the Bauchi State governor had set up the state’s Assets and Funds Recovery Committee to probe the former governors which many people regarded as a “political committee” set up to manhunt the predecessors.
Yuguda and Abubakar served between 2007 to 2015, and between 2015 to 2019 respectively.
Among several allegations leveled against them by the committee, was that their administrations as governors of the state wasted the state’s funds to the tune of N321,460,759,880.34 purportedly being the statutory allocations to the state between May 2015 and May 2019.
However, in his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo declared the committee “unlawful” and proceeded to restrain the state from acting on the committee’s report to prosecute the duo.
Ekwo, in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/460/2020 filed by Abubakar and Yuguda, held: “Without evidence of the executive instrument or order of the fifth defendant (Bauchi State Government), which established the committee, it means that the fifth defendant has not effectively controverted the assertion of the plaintiffs.”
The duo claimed, among others, that not only was the committee set up by governor Bala under a repealed law but it was also intended to rubbish their reputation, adding that the committee sat and conducted its businesses, without hearing from them, thereby denying them the right to a fair hearing as enshrined in the constitution.
“Further, since the executive instrument is in the possession of the fifth defendant and it failed or refused to produce it in either the counter affidavit or further counter-affidavit, it, in my opinion, means that it is being withheld by the fifth defendant,” said Justice Ekwo.
He maintained that in the country’s legal system, parties are to present their case comprehensively by stating the facts and evidence, irrespective of whether such fact or evidence is against their interest.
“The fifth defendant has admitted the case of the plaintiffs by not controverting same with credible evidence. Therefore, the recommendation of the committee of the fifth defendant, which means of establishment has been discredited by the plaintiffs, cannot be allowed to stand and I so hold,” a writ by Justice Ekwo reads.
Similarly, the court proceeded to declare that the security agencies, named in the case, lacked the power to initiate or cause to be instituted any investigation against the plaintiffs or their administrations as governors of Bauchi or to prosecute or arraign the duo.
The agencies include, the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).