The Kano High Court presided by Justice Hafsat Yahaya Sani, has remanded the former managing director of Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO), Bala Inuwa, and two others in prison custody over alleged N4 billion fraud.
The two others are the ex-managing director’s son, Muhammad Inuwa, and incorporated trustees of the Association of Compassionate Friends.
This followed the arraignment of the defendants by the Kano State government on Thursday before the court.
The Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) investigated the alleged fraud, while the office of the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice filed the charges against them.
According to PCACC, its investigation revealed that the defendants diverted over N4 billion from the account of the state’s agricultural supply company into personal accounts.
However, the defendant’s counsel, Nasir Aliyu, argued that the defendants could not be arraigned due to the non-availability of some facilities, including the defendant’s statements and list of witnesses.
Mr Alyu argued that without the facilities, it would hinder the defendant’s constitutional rights to a fair hearing in line with the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2019.
The court ruled that it was not enough ground not to take the defendants’ plea and asked that the charges be read to them.
After the 10-count charges that included criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, false statement to cover up the transaction, and mismanagement of grant money, were read out.
In their pleadings, the defendants said they were not guilty of the charges read to them.
The defence counsel again made an oral plea asking the court to allow the defendants to continue to enjoy the earlier bail granted them by another High Court.
However, the complainant’s counsel, Zaharadeen Kofar-Mata, argued that though they do not object 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 a bail application, which may be taken on Friday (November 3) if the application is ready.
She ordered that the defendants be remanded and adjourned for a hearing of the substantive suit to December 6.