Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja, Tuesday, December 14, 2021 adjourned the trial of Shamsudeen Bala, son of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, till February 28, 2022 when his expected to open his defence.
Bala was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, along with four companies – Bird Trust Agro Allied Limited, Intertrans Global Logistic Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Ltd – on a 20-count charge bordering on money laundering.
The defendant allegedly acquired houses in highbrow areas of Abuja and paid cash to conceal the illicit origin of the funds. The assets include five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges upon arraignment. In the course of the trial, the EFCC had called witnesses and tendered documents to establish the ingredients of the alleged offence. But rather than open his defence, the defendant opted for a no case submission, arguing that the prosecution failed to link him to the alleged offence.
Ruling on the no case submission on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 Justice Dimga dismissed 10 of the 20 counts brought against the defendant by the EFCC. He ruled that the prosecution was unable to establish a link between the defendant and the offences in count 1 to 10, which bordered on the allegation that Bala exceeded the permissible threshold of N5million in making payments for the properties.
However, the Judge held that the defendant has case to answer in respect of counts 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, which bordered on failure to disclose his assets in the assets declaration form he filled at the EFCC.
The trial court also insisted that the defendant should explain counts 17, 18 and 19, which were predicated on forgery.
Media & Publicity
16 December, 2021