A Court of Appeal in Gombe State has ordered the trial of a former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama, a Deputy Coordinator of Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Abba Gana Tata and two others over alleged money laundering to the tune of N450 million.
The court ordered the case to be reassigned to another Federal High Court for retrial.
The former minister and the Deputy Campaign Director were arraigned by the Maiduguri Zonal Office of the EFCC, on Friday, May 29, 2018 before Justice Isa Hamman Dashen of the Federal High Court, Damaturu, Yobe State on seven counts bordering on money laundering.
Bulama was being prosecuted alongside Mohammed Kadai, a former Commissioner for Integrated and Rural Development in Yobe State and Deputy Coordinator of Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Abba Gana Tata; Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks.
In the cause of the trial, counsel for the EFCC, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, presented six witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendants opted for a “no case submission”. Justice Isa Hamman Dashen of the Federal High Court, upheld the “no case submission”, discharged and acquitted all the defendants.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC filed an appeal, asking the Appellate Court to set aside the decision of the lower court.
The Appeal Court in its judgment of March 3, 2021, upheld the argument of the EFCC that the lower court erred in discharging and acquitting the defendants.
The judgment read by Justice Tunde O. Awotoye, held that “the charge No. FHC/DM/CR/25/2018 FRN VS DR ABDU BULAMA AND FOUR OTHERS is ordered to be remitted back to the lower court to be reassigned to another Federal High Court Judge other than Hon. Justice Isah H. Dashen to be heard de novo.”
According to the EFCC in a release, the court held that “there is inferential evidence against the respondents which should not be brushed aside.
“Investigations by the EFCC revealed that Bulama and co-defendants received and shared the said sum which was provided by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.”