The trial of former special adviser on Sure P Department of Katsina State, to former Governor Ibrahim Shema, Nasiru Salisu Ingawa and three other officials of the state government being prosecuted over N5.7billion has been struck out by Justice Maikaita Bako of the state High Court.
At the last adjourned date, the permanent secretary in the state Ministry of Justice, Mr Abdulsalam Sabiu, told the court that the attorney general of the Federation has already received the case file from the ICPC but his absence in the country delayed the handover of the case file to the state.
It would be recalled that concerns were raised by the ICPC and opposition in the state that the move by the state government to take over the case was to frustrate the trial.
Others standing trial alongside Ingawa are, director of Finance and Account Katsina State Sure-P Department, Abdulazees Abdullahi Shinkafi and chief store officer in the Katsina State Civil Service, Bello Ibrahim Bindawa.
During the trial yesterday, counsel who represented the state government in the matter, Mr A. A. Ibrahim, told the court that the case should be adjourned indefinitely over the delay in getting the case file from the ICPC.
“My lord, the case cannot go on today because we are still not in possession of the case file. We have not been given the case file by the ICPC. We apply to adjourn this case sine die till we get the case file,” Ibrahim said.
Counsel to the accused persons, Mr Salihu Yerima did not object to the application of the prosecution counsel.
“My lord, I leave the decision on the application of the prosecution to the discretion of the court.”
The trial judge in a short ruling said the appropriate order to make is to terminate the case and discharge the accused persons.
According to him, the accused persons will be rearraigned once the state government is ready with the case file.
Shortly after the ruling of the court, Yerima blamed the ICPC for the failure to release the case file to the state government.
Yerima said, “The prosecution said they cannot go on without the case file with the ICPC. The ICPC should be blamed for the inability of the matter to go on today. We don’t know why ICPC is still holding on to the case file.”
The termination of the case may have further confirmed the fears of the commission when it objected handing over the case to the state government initially.
Last month, Sabiu told the court that the attorney general of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has directed ICPC to hand over the case file to his office for onward transmission to the office of Katsina State Attorney General.
The trial which started last year October after the investigation of ICPC into the alleged financial crimes committed by the officials of the state government in charge of Sure-P Department could not proceed beyond initial arraignment of the accused following decision of Katsina State government to take over the prosecution of the accused from the ICPC.