Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party in Bauchi State, Saleh Gamawa and Aminu Gadiya, have been convicted by a Federal High Court, Bauchi and sentenced to two years imprisonment for offences that bordered on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N142,460,000.
Justice Hassan Dikko convicted the duo on March 2, while ruling on the two counts brought against the defendants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, revealed these in a statement obtained by our correspondent on Saturday.
Uwujaren noted that the defendants were first arraigned on June 4, 2018 and re-arraigned on October 16, 2018 on two charges for allegedly receiving over N142m to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in Bauchi State.
One of the two charges read, “That you, Saleh Gamawa and Aminu Gadiya, all members of the Finance and Funds Disbursement Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party 2015 General Elections, and in such capacities sometimes in March 2015 in Bauchi State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did agree amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit; Conspiracy to accept cash payment exceeding the threshold provided by law, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 16(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012( as amended) now No.1, 2012”.
The spokesperson for the anti-graft agency further noted that the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting the stage for the case to proceed to full trial.
In the course of trial, the prosecution presented one witness and tendered documents marked as Exhibits A1, A2 and A3. Both defendants testified in their respective defence.
At the close of evidence, the final written addresses were filed, exchanged and adopted on January 17, 2023, with the prosecution asking the court to convict the defendants as charged.
The defence, on the other hand, submitted that the evidence presented against the defendant by the prosecution was not credible and urged the court to discharge and acquit the defendants. Justice Dikko then reserved judgment for March 2, 2023.
Uwujaren said, “In the well-considered judgment that lasted more than three hours, Justice Dikko reviewed the facts of the case and the submissions of counsel and arrived at the conclusion that the prosecution proved the cases against the defendants beyond reasonable doubt on count one and convicted them as charged.
He however discharged and acquitted the second defendant on count two.
According to justice Dikko, “The fact that the defendants in this instant case endorsed exhibit A1, A2 and A3 to receive cash to the tune of N142,460,000 well in excess of the legal threshold designated by law, there can be no other conclusion but that the defendants conspired to so commit the offence and I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is rather astonishing that in the defence of the count, the defendants completely disregarded the damaging evidence of exhibits A1, A2, and A3, lying right before the court. I therefore find the first and second defendants guilty of conspiracy as charged in court one and are accordingly convicted”.