Shema loses bid to stop trial by Katsina government
The Appeal Court sitting in Kaduna yesterday quashed the application filed by former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, to stop his ongoing trial by the Katsina State Government.
Shema lost the bid to stop his trial on grounds that he was not availed documents pertaining to the petition against him.
The court however, recognised the right of an accused person to be availed documents pertaining to charges standing against them but said Shema’s application could not stand as it was filed prematurely and before a plea was taken.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Shema and three others before Justice Maikaita Bako of the Kaduna State High Court for allegedly defrauding the state of N11 billion during his eight-year reign as governor of the state.
Shema had approached the court to stop his trial at the Katsina High court on grounds that he was not given a fair hearing as he was not allowed access to copies of the petitions written against him.
He argued that sighting the documents would have allowed him to know the nature of the specific offences he was being accused of.
He had, in previous sittings, argued through his counsel, J.B. Daudu, that he was not allowed access to state facilities that would accelerate fair hearing on the case.
Shema told the court that his trial in the lower court was vindictive, oppressive and capable of trampling on his fundamental rights. He then requested the Appeal Court to dismiss the case at the Katsina High Court.
But in a unanimous judgment read by Justice H.A. Abiru, the court noted that accused persons must be availed documents to enable them prepare for defense, adding it was premature to file an objection when a plea had not be taken.
The court upheld the judgment of the Kastina High Court that the Attorney General of Katsina State had the right to direct the EFCC to prosecute Shema.
Shema had approached the Appeal Court on May 25, 2017, with interlocutory application challenging his alleged corruption trial by a Katsina State High Court.
Counsel to Shema, Elisha Y. Kora, told newsmen after the judgment that although there were grounds to disagree with the judgment, their next action would be determined when they are availed copies of the judgment.
He, however, said he was not ruling out the possibility of appealing the judgment at the Supreme Court.
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