By Abiola Olawale
A Court of Appeal in Gombe State has ordered the fresh trial of Abba Gana Tata, deputy coordinator of Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organization, Dr. Abdu Balama, former Minister of Science and Technology and three others over an alleged money laundering fraud up to the tune of N450 million.
Bulama, who was also the coordinator of former President Jonathan Campaign during the 2015 general election, alongside Gana; Mohammed Kadai, a former commissioner for Integrated and Rural Development, Yobe State; Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks, were arraigned on May 29, 2018, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a seven-count bordering on money laundering.
Recall Justice Isah Dashen of The Federal High Court, Damaturu, Yobe State, had on February 18, 2020, discharged and acquitted Bulama, Gana and three from the money laundering claims levelled against them by the anti-graft agency.
But the EFCC appealed the judgement of the Federal High Court, Damaturu. The anti-graft agency argued that the trial judge failed to properly evaluate the evidences brought before the court before delivering his judgement.
In Wednesday, the Court of Appeal, Gombe set aside the judgement and ordered the case to be reassigned to another Federal High Court for retrial.
Justice Tunde Awotoye of the Appeal Court, Gombe, in his judgment, upheld the argument of the EFCC that the lower court erred in discharging and acquitting the defendants.
The judgment reads “the charge No. FHC/DM/CR/25/2018 FRN VS DR ABDU BULAMA AND FOUR OTHERS is ordered to be remitted back to the lower court to be reassigned to another Federal High Court Judge other than Hon. Justice Isah H. Dashen to be heard de novo.”