By Gilbert Alasa.
Former Governor of Zamfara State, Sani Yerima, was on Thursday arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission before a Gusau High Court over an allegation that he misapplied over N1bn while in office in 2006.
Yerima is standing trial on a 19-count charge bordering on misappropriation of funds, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
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Counsel for the ICPC, Mr. Mashkur Salisu, said the money was a bank loan meant for the repair of the collapsed Gusau Dam and the payment of compensations to the victims affected by the incident.
Salisu alleged that Yerima diverted the money to other purposes.
The offence, he said, is contrary to, and punishable under section 25 (1) (a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Also charged with Yerima were Alhaji Hashim Dikko, and two companies – Development Management Ltd. and HAD Nigeria Limited.
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They were also accused of misapplication and overshooting of the contract sum for the supply of assorted grains to the Federal Government, amounting to hundreds of millions of naira.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Mahmoud Abubakar, who led eight other lawyers to appear for the accused persons, pleaded with the court to grant them bail on self recognition with an assurance that they would not jump bail.
Justice Bello Shinkafi granted bail to each of the accused persons in the sum of N100m and two sureties in like sum.
Shinkafi ruled that each of the sureties must own landed properties worth N150m, while they must be resident in Gusau and he adjourned the case till February 29 and March 1, 2016 for hearing.
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Speaking to newsmen after the court session, Yerima alleged that the case was instituted against him by his ‘political enemies’, adding that ‘we will use politics to fight back’.
It will be recalled that in 2000, one Buba Jangebe was amputated in Zamfara after he was found guilty of stealing a cow during the tenure of Yerima.
By Gilbert Alasa.