A FEDERAL High Court sitting in Bauchi has sentenced two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Saleh Hussaini Gamawa and Aminu Umar Gadiya, for offences that bordered on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N142 million.
The men committed the offences during the 2015 general elections.
The presiding judge, Justice Hassan Dikko, convicted them on Thursday, March 2, while ruling on the two-count charge brought against the defendants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to a statement released on Saturday, March 11 and signed by the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the defendants were first arraigned on June 4, 2018, and re-arraigned on October 16, 2018, on a two-count charge of receiving over N142 million to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in Bauchi State.
Count one of the charge read, “That you, Saleh Hussaini Gamawa and Aminu Umar Gadiya, all members of the Finance and Funds Disbursement Committee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) 2015 General Elections, and in such capacities sometime in March 2015 in Bauchi State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did agree amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit; Conspiracy to accept cash payment exceeding the threshold provided by law, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under Section 16(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012( as amended) now No.1, 2012.”
Count two stated that the duo accepted a cash payment of N142 million from the Directorate of Finance, Bauchi State PDP Campaign Organization, exceeding the required threshold of cash payment, thereby committing an offence contrary to the law.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting the stage for the case to proceed to full trial.
During the trial, the prosecution presented one witness and tendered documents.
At the close of evidence, the final written addresses were filed, exchanged and adopted on January 17, 2023, with the prosecution asking the court to convict the defendants as charged.
On the other hand, the defence submitted that the evidence presented against the defendants by the prosecution was not credible and urged the court to discharge and acquit them.
In his judgment, which lasted more than three hours, Justice Dikko reviewed the facts of the case and the submissions of counsel and arrived at the conclusion that the prosecution had proven the cases against the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt on count one and convicted them as charged.
He, however, discharged and acquitted the second defendant on count two.
Before sentencing the defendants, Justice Dikko acknowledged their pleas for leniency but insisted that they be punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
He consequently sentenced the two defendants to two years imprisonment at the Bauchi Correction Service, or a fine of N3 million each instead of imprisonment on count one, while the first defendant bagged a further two years imprisonment or a fine of N3 million in place of incarceration on count two.
The sentences are to run concurrently from March 2, 2023.