From Godwin Tsa, AbujaThe Abuja division of the Federal High Court has discharged and acquitted Shamsudeen Bala, son of Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed on criminal charges preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

Bala was prosecuted by the anti-graft agency alongside four firms; Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd.

The prosecution agency had alleged that the four companies were used by Bala to launder over N1.1 billion.

It further alleged that Bala went ahead to acquire houses within high brow areas in Abuja which he paid for in cash, to conceal the stolen funds at his disposal. 

It also claimed that some  of the assets  included 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.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba in his judgment exonerated him on all the charges on the grounds that the prosecution agency failed to prove the allegations against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt as required by law.

The Judge held that the EFCC failed to thoroughly and credibly dismantled the claim of the defendant that he was under a state of.shock and disarray while making his statements before the commission.

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He equally noted that the defendant’s bank account which was not disclosed in his assets declaration form was being operated by his wife, after their marriage.

“The said account was no longer under his control but under the control of his wife. The prosecution could have thoroughly investigated the claim of the defendant that he acted in a state of shock and disarray when filling the asset declaration form.

” Only the prosecution has the power to dismantle and scientifically investigate the defendant’s claim as to his state of mind during his arrest.

Before Tuesday’s judgment, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had earlier in his ruling on the no-case submission filed by his counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, acquitted him  on 11 out of 20- count charge slammed against him .

Justice Dimgba freed Bala on counts one to 10 and count 20 which  bordered on the allegation that Bala exceeded the permissible threshold of N5 million in making payments for the acquisition of houses.

He held that the anti-graft agency failed to provide evidence on the allegation that Bala bought property with cash above the stipulated financial threshold.

The judge dismissed the no-case-submission in respect of counts 11, 12, 13, 14,15 and 16 and ordered the defendant to enter his defence with respect to counts 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.