By Ahmad Tijjani Abdul Kano
Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), on Thursday arraigned the past Managing Director of the state’s Agricultural Supply Company, (KASCO), Bala Muhammad Inuwa, his son, Bala Muhammad Inuwa junior and an Incorporated Trustees of Association of Compassionate Friends over N4 billion alleged fraud.
The formal arraignment on Thursday at a Kano High court was nearly botched following legal arguments by the defense team over failure of the prosecution counsel to made available to them facilities attached to the case.
The defence Counsel, Prof. Nasir Adamu Aliyu had argued that the defendants cannot be arraigned due to the non-availability of some facilities that include the defendants statements, and list of witnesses among others.
Prof. Nasir Adamu Aliyu further argued that without the facilities it would amount to hindrance of the defendants’ constitutional rights to fair hearing in line with Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2019.
The technicality introduced by the defence team triggered legal fire works, as the prosecution team replied on the point of law.
However, in the end, the presiding judge, Justice Hafsat Sani Yahaya dismissed the arguments of the defence team over impropriety of the arraignment.
Justice Hafsat Sani Yahaya ruled that it is not enough ground not to take the plea of the defendants and asked that the charges be read to them.
The ruling subsequently paved way for proceedings as the former KASCO chief executive officer was slammed with 10 count charges that included criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, false statement to cover up transaction and mismanagement of grant money among others.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges that was read to them in English language.
There was however a mild drama when the defence Counsel, Prof. Nasir Adamu Aliyu made an oral application asking the court to allow the defendants continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted them by another high court on the matter.
This, the Complainant Counsel, Barr. Zaharadeen Hamisu Kofar Mata argued that though they are not objecting to the bail it should not be by oral pleading but by proper application before the court.
In her ruling, Justice Hafsat ordered the defence counsel to bring an application for bail which may be taken tomorrow Friday, if the application is ready, and ordered the defendants be remanded in custody.
Justice Hafsat Sani Yahaya further adjourned for hearing on the substantive suit to December, 6th, 2023.