The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has petitioned the Court of Appeal to overturn a no-case ruling granted to former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, and former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Niger State, Tanko Beji, by Justice Abdullahi Mukailu of the Niger State High Court sitting in Minna on December 7, 2023.
The Commission had filed a seven-count conspiracy, abetment, and criminal breach of trust indictment before Justice Aliyu Mayaki (now retired) against Aliyu, Beji, and Umar Nasko, a former Commissioner for Environment and Chief of Staff to Aliyu.
The matter was eventually reallocated to Justice Abdullahi Mukailu, and the EFCC questioned 11 witnesses, presented over 400 evidence, and ended its case, according to EFCC spokesman Dele Oyewale.
According to the anti-graft agency, the three defendants filed a no-case submission with the court, and on December 7, 2023, His Lordship granted Aliyu and Beji’s petitions and directed Nasko to open his defence.
The EFCC, displeased with His Lordship’s finding on Aliyu and Beji’s no-case argument and certain that a prima facie case had been made against them, filed a Notice of Appeal on January 10, 2024. The Commission was optimistic that the Court of case will do justice with the case.
“Surprisingly, on January 15, 2024, when the EFCC’s counsel appeared in court to continue the trial of Nasko and without any prior notice, the Attorney General (AG) of Niger State made an appearance in court with an application to take over the case from the EFCC.
“Not done yet, the AG made another appearance four hours later and entered a nolle prosequi which His Lordship acted on and discharged Nasko.
“For the EFCC, the road has not closed. The Commission is proceeding in its appeal against Aliyu and Beji at the Court of Appeal with all its evidence against them. The Commission will continue to discharge its duties in line with its mandate of tackling all forms of economic and financial crimes, without fear or favour,” the statement concluded.