Prof. Itse Sagay, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, has said that the pardon of some officials indicted in a N15 billion fraud by Aminu Tambuwal, the Governor of Sokoto state, is illegal. He said only the Federal Government had the power to pardon anybody under trial. He lamented that Tambuwal’s action could undermine President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
“It is only the Attorney General of the Federation that can ask for a case that is being prosecuted by the Federal Government to be withdrawn. So, what Tambuwal did by pardoning is illegal.
“Secondly, the money that was allegedly stolen belonged to the people of Sokoto and not Tambuwal,” he said.
The accused officers include: Tukur Alkali, Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries Development; Isa Achida, Commissioner for Home Affairs; Maigari Dingyadi, the Chairman, Governing Board, National Commission for Colleges of Education; Habibu Modachi, member representing Isa Constituency at the House of Assembly; and Isah Bello, a Permanent Secretary.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has also opposed Tambuwal’s action saying it had arraigned 10 people in connection with the fraud but Tambuwal had picked out only his cabinet members for pardon. The Punch reports that all the pardoned officials, who are now serving under the current administration, were in 2009 arraigned together with Attahiru Bafarawa, a former governor of the state.
“The EFCC, on September 25, 2017 filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, challenging the judgment delivered by the Sokoto State High in respect of pardon granted by the Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to five accused persons who were charged alongside former governor Attahiru Bafarawa.
“It would be recalled that on June 29, 2017, the Sokoto State High Court presided over by Justice Bello Abbas delivered a judgment discharging five accused persons, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah, Alhaji Isah Sadiq, Alhaji Habibu Modachi and Alhaji Muhammadu Dingyadi.
“The ruling was sequel to a motion filed by the respondents seeking to be discharged from further criminal proceedings based on a pardon granted to them by the Sokoto State Government,” the EFCC said on Facebook on Monday.