The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on January 23rd, 2012, told an FCT High Court, sitting in Abuja , that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy, Usman Nafada, have a case to answer in the on-going case of N38 billion fraud and criminal breach of trust instituted against them. This submission was made in response to an application for a no-case submission filed by Bankole and Nafada’s counsel on the ground that the EFCC has no sufficient evidence to prosecute their clients.
The duo of Bankole and Nafada were arraigned on Monday, June 13th, 2011, on a 17- count charge of criminal breach of trust, misappropriation and theft. The EFCC, in a counter application, filed through its counsel, Festus Keyamo, dismissed the former legislators’ application as yet another ploy to stall the on-going trial. He further argued that the accused persons are not charged for “over-spending but misappropriation of funds.” Keyamo pointed out that, as far as the law was concerned, there was a resolution to commit an illegal act in a meeting which the accused persons attended and chaired.
Presiding Justice Suleiman Belgore adjourned ruling on arguments on the case to January 31st, 2012. It would be recalled that the, EFCC, on Wednesday December 14th, 2011, similarly accused the former Speaker and his deputy of delaying trial. This was sequel to an application for a no-case submission the two former leaders of the House of Representatives brought before the court. The insistence of the EFCC that they have a case to answer is hinged on the 17 count charges preferred against them.
Count one of the charges against Bankole and Nafada reads, “That you Dimeji Sabur Bankole and Usman Bayero Nafada, being Principal Officers of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on or about the 12th day of May, 2010, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did agree amongst yourselves to commit a felony, to wit: criminal breach of trust by agreeing to approve the allowances and/or “running costs” of Members of the House of Representatives in violation of the approved Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the extant Revised Financial Regulations of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2009 and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 97(1) of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (Abuja) 1990 and punishable under Section 315 of the same Penal Code Act”.