The Secretary of Adamawa Emirate Council Alhaji Yahya Umar and the District Head of Girei Alhaji Mahmud Abba appeared before a Yola Upper Area Court yesterday, charged with misappropriating over N276 million belonging to the council.
The secretary, who has been in detention since 18 February 2013, had last Friday petitioned the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, accusing Lamido Adamawa Dr Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa of persecuting him over alleged misappropriation of funds — which he denies.
The issue shifted to court yesterday when police brought the secretary along with the Girei district head, who is also the cashier of the emirate council, before the upper area court.
They were accused them of “criminal conspiracy, misappropriation and cheating.”
Police prosecutor Inspector Mohammed Isa read the First Information Report to the court outlining the charges against them.
He said: “On 18 February 2013 at about 1000hrs, the Personal Assistant to His Royal Highness the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr Barkido Aliyu Mustapha, reported to the police at the Lamido police station Yola that between January 2012 and January 2013, the Secretary to the Emirate Council Alhaji Yahya Umar and the cashier Alhaji Mahmud Alhaji Abba conspired, misappropriated and cheated the Council of her funds to the tune of two hundred and seventy six million, one hundred and eleven thousand naira (N276,111,000) being monthly subventions and soft loan usually disbursed to the council from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adamawa State, contrary to Sections 97, 309 and 323 of the penal code.”
Both the secretary and the Girei district head pleaded not guilty and asked the court to order for their release on bail.
Their counsels, Desmond Adebole (for the secretary) and Ever Odo (for the district head) argued that they should be granted bail since the alleged crimes are ‘bailable’ offences.
Invoking the provisions of Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution which say that the accused should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, they said the suspects should not be unduly punished since they might be innocent.
Adebole further argued that the secretary should also be granted bail on health ground because he is sick and has been receiving treatment at the Dawau Clinic in Yola before he was transferred to the police at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Odo on his part said the district head should be released on bail because he had no reason to flee.
“He is the district head of Girei. He has no place to run to. He will not abandon his people,” Odo told the court.
But the prosecutor opposed the bail applications, arguing that police have not yet completed their investigation and that the suspects might interfere with it.
The defence counsels, however, maintained that they have assurances from the accused persons that they would not interfere with the investigation.
They said the secretary has been in detention since 18 February 2013 and his continuous detention would not aid the investigation.
The judge, Aminu Ahmed Wulo, fixed today (Thursday) for ruling on the bail applications and remanded the suspects in prison.