A Federal High Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, has ordered the remandment of four Kawara State government officials in prison.
The four — Abubakar Ishiak, Permanent Secretary; Shina Mudasir Akorede, Director of Administration and Finance; Rasaq Momonu, Controller Finance and Account, and Hafees Yusuf, Cashier — were arraigned on Thursday before Justice Babangana Ashigar by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for money laundering.
The officials were accused of making illegal cash transfer of N20,300,000 (Twenty Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira) from the coffers of the state government.
One of the counts reads: "That you, Abubakar Ishiak, being the Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Government House, Shina Mudasir Akorede, being the Director of Administration and Finance, Rasaq Momonu, being the Controller of Finance and Account, Kwara State Government House, and Hafees Yusuf, being the Cashier of Kwara State Government House on or about the 14th day of February 2019 at Ilorin, Kwara State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did make a cash payment of N20,300,000 (Twenty Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira) only to one Energy Multi-Trade Unique Interbiz Limited through the company's Chief Executive Officer, Jimoh Sarafadeen Kolade for services rendered to Kwara State Government House, which cash sum exceeded the limitation of N10 million payable to a body corporate and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (b) and Punishable under section 16 of the same Act."
Justice Babangana Ashigar refused the plea of the defence counsel to grant the officials bail.
Christopher Mschelia, the prosecuting counsel, prayed the court to keep the officials in prison pending a day for trial is fixed.
Mschelia said: “A date for trial to commence as the EFCC was prepared to prove its case against them.
"We are asking your lordship to order that they should be remanded in prison.”
With the defendants pleading not guilty, lead defence counsel, Abdulwahab Bamidele, however, made an oral application for bail.
Mschelia urged the court not to grant the request, insisting that "the substantive bail application is not ripe for hearing".
In his ruling, Justice Ashigar refused the oral application for bail, and ordered the defendants to be remanded in EFCC custody.
The case has been adjourned to May 8 for a hearing of the formal bail application, while the trial is to commence on June 6.