A witness and former Auditor-General of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dabo Bindawa, has told Justice Maikata Ibrahim Bako of the state high court that he did not see the appropriation laws of the state between 2012 to 2014 before his committee came up with a report indicting former governor of the state, Ibrahim Shehu Shema of financial impropriety. The state government had set up a committee to investigate the finances of the state under former Governor Shema. The committee was expected to investigate loss of government funds and property. According to Bindawa, who printed posters to contest the 2015 governorship election against Governor Aminu Bello Masari but later stepped down from contesting the election in his evidence before the court, he was aware that the State House of Assembly is saddled with the responsibilities of making financial appropriation laws for the state but have not seen the laws between 2012 to 2014.
Apart from the report of the committee that was brought to the court,none of the primary evidence was shown to the court to substantiate the allegation of the witness.
While under cross-examination, he said apart from allowances that were paid to them, no other member of the committee got money for the work they did for the state in serving on the committee. But when told by the team of lawyers of Dr Shema, led by Chief Joseph Daudu, SAN, that, some of the members who served on the committee, have been rewarded with political appointments by the governor, he said he was not aware.
When asked, if he knew that Maigari Salihu and Farouk Lawan Jobe, who served as members of the committee are now, chairman, Local Government Services of Katsina State and special adviser to the governor of the state respectively, the witness claimed ignorance of the development. Bindawa, who said he personally investigated the finances of the state, said some vouchers were with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC (EFCC) but did not bother to request for the documents from the commission before coming up with its report. “I said that some vouchers are with the EFCC. The director of Finance in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs did not give us the details of the vouchers.
“The vouchers with the EFCC are very important to our work. I did not write the EFCC to request for the vouchers,” he said. He also told the court that in the course of their investigation, they never interviewed any of the defendants before the court, adding that the committee only tried to reach one of them through a third party. Shema, who was governor of the state between 2007 and 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is being tried alongside three others, namely Sani Makana, Lawal Safana and Ibrahim Dankaba. A seven-man commission of inquiry led by Justice Muhammed Sirajo had accused Shema’s administration of alleged embezzlement of N11billion belonging to the 34 local government areas of the state.