The absence of Justice Bello Abbas of Sokoto State High Court on Wednesday stalled judgment in the alleged N15 billion corruption charges against Attahiru Bafarawa, former Sokoto State Governor.
Abbas, also the state Chief Judge, had on May 8, reserved July 4, for judgment in the 9-year old legal battle between Bafarawa and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
However, counsel to the two parties in the case were informed that the judge was out of the state on an official assignment.
They subsequently agreed to retun to court on July 31, for the judgement.
Bafarawa is facing a 33-count charge bordering on corruption, illegal sale of government shares, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, receiving stolen properties and unauthorised payments allegedly committed between 2003 and 2007.
Also being prosecuted along side Bafarawa are Beedash Nigeria Ltd, Nasdalbap Nigeria Ltd, Nasiru Bafarawa and Salihu Maibuhu-Gummi.
Both counsel had adopted their written addresses before the last adjournment.
At the hearing on May 8, the lead defence counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) argued that the complainant had not provided any evidence in respect of the 11 of the charges against his client to warrant conviction.
He contended that the law requires that evidence in criminal offences must be clear and beyond reasonable doubt.
Fagbemi prayed the court to regard Bafarawa as “an honest complainant turned accused’’ in view of the fact that he first reported the fraud case to EFCC in 2006.
According to him, Bafarawa took the right step as whistle blower before circumstances turned against him to become the accused.
He urged the court to discharge and acquit the accused on the ground that the prosecution had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
In his submission, EFCC lead counsel, Chief Jacob Ochidi, prayed the court to consider the evidences provided in the course of the trial and convict Bafarawa accordingly.
NAN reports that the court had earlier discharged and acquitted Munti Trade Golobal Concept and Bashir Mamman-Nasarawa, who were among those joined in the original suit.