The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned the immediate past Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, on charges of money laundering.
The anti-graft agency arraigned Aliyu alongside the 2015 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and a former Niger State Commissioner for Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources, Umar Nasko.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the eight counts in which they were accused of conspiring and diverting over N1bn ecological funds which the state was said to have received from the Federal Government in 2014.
They allegedly paid the money into the account of a private company, D-Sabrin International Limited, through the Niger State Ministry of Environment.
Some of the counts preferred against them in the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/71/2017, read, “That you, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu (whilst being the Executive Governor of Niger State) and Umar Muhammed Nasko (whilst being the Commissioner for Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources in Niger State) sometime in 2014, at Minna, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire between yourselves to commit an offence to wit; money laundering of ecological funds released by the Federal Government to the Niger State Government and, thereby, committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Shortly after the defendants took their pleas, their lawyer, Mr. Mamman Usman (SAN), moved their bail applications.
The lawyer added that the EFCC had earlier granted them an administrative bail.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Ben Ikani, did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to impose conditions that would make the defendants to attend their trial.