N15bn fraud: EFCC challenges Tambuwal for pardoning commissioners, others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has challenged the power of the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal , for pardoning five defendants including a serving commissioner in his cabinet, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, who is the Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries Development .
Others pardoned include the Commissioner for Home Affairs , Isa Achida; the Chairman , Governing Board, National Commission for Colleges of Education , Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi; the member representing Isa constituency at the House of Assembly , Alhaji Habibu Modachi ; and a Permanent Secretary , Isah Bello .
It was learnt that all the pardoned officials , who are now serving under the current Tambuwal administration , were in 2009 arraigned alongside a former governor of Sokoto State , Attahiru Bafarawa, for an alleged N 15 bn fraud, having also served under him between 2002 and 2007 .
The EFCC had also arraigned 10 others before a Sokoto State High Court for the same alleged offences.
Curiously , however , only those who are currently serving under Tambuwal were pardoned while the others , including Bafarawa were left to their fate.
The anti - graft agency , however , on its Facebook on Monday, said it had filed an appeal and would ensure that the five pardoned persons do not escape justice .
The EFCC said , “ The EFCC , on September 25 , 2017 filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal , Sokoto Division, challenging the judgment delivered by the Sokoto State High in respect of pardon granted by the Governor of Sokoto , Aminu Waziri Tambuwal , to five accused persons who were charged alongside former governor Attahiru Bafarawa .
“ It would be recalled that on June 29 , 2017 , the Sokoto State High Court presided over by Justice Bello Abbas delivered a judgment discharging five accused persons , Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah, Alhaji Isah Sadiq , Alhaji Habibu Modachi and Alhaji Muhammadu Dingyadi.
“ The ruling was sequel to a motion filed by the respondents seeking to be discharged from further criminal proceedings based on a pardon granted to them by the Sokoto State Government . ”
The Chairman , Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof . Itse Sagay ( SAN), condemned Tambuwal ’ s action , saying the money which was allegedly stolen belonged to the people of Sokoto State and not the governor .
Sagay said such an action could taint the anti -corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari .
He said, “ It is only the Attorney General of the Federation that can ask for a case that is being prosecuted by the Federal Government to be withdrawn. So , what Tambuwal did by pardoning is illegal .
“ Secondly, the money that was allegedly stolen belonged to the people of Sokoto and not Tambuwal . ”
Attempts to speak with Tambuwal ’ s Chief Press Secretary, Imam Imam , proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off while a text message was not responded to as of 9 pm on Monday.