Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, a former governor of Kaduna State, has been re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on eight amended counts related to money laundering and criminal conspiracy in a Federal High Court sitting in the state capital.
For their alleged roles in the receipt and distribution of N700 million paid to them by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, Yero is being prosecuted alongside a former Minister of Power, Nuhu Wya, a former Secretary to the Kaduna State Government, Ishaq Hamsa, and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State, Abubakar
On Monday, they were re-arraigned in front of Justice R. M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Kaduna, who took over the case from the previous trial judge, Justice Mohammed Umar, who was transferred to another court.
The prosecution’s attorney, Nasiru Salele, informed the court during the resumption of the hearing that the defendants would need to be re-arraigned and urged the court to request that they enter pleas.
After hearing the accusations, the defendants all entered “not guilty” pleas.
According to the amended charges against the defendants, they committed an offense in 2015 that violated Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) in 2012 and was punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act when they “indirectly took possession of the sum of N700,000,000, which they ought to have known forms part of unlawful activity to wit: bribery.”
The defendants’ attorney, Yunus Ustaz, sought the court to extend to the defendants the terms of the bail that had previously been granted to them by the previous judge after the defendants entered their pleas.
Nasiru Salele, the attorney for the prosecution, did not raise any objections to the application.
As a result, Justice Umar approved the defendants’ requests for bail under the same conditions that the court had previously provided.
Trial dates for the case were set for January 16, 17, and 18.