A Federal High Court in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital on Monday convicted a former member of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Gabriel Daudu, of money laundering and sentenced him to two years imprisonment.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment on Monday, found Daudu guilty on 77 out of the 208 counts pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Daudu, who served as the Caretaker Chairman of the Ogori/Mangogo Local Government Area of Kogi State between January and July 2008, had been standing trial since April, 2010 alongside a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, Albert Adesina.
The charges pressed against them by the EFCC bordered on conspiracy, advanced fee fraud and money laundering involving about N1.4bn.
But while Daudu was convicted on 77 counts and sentenced to two years on each count to run concurrently, Justice Ekwo, however, discharged and acquitted Adesina, who was only charged with one count.
Daudu’a trial started first before Justice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court in Abuja before it was later transferred to the Lokoja Division of the Federal High Court before Justice Ekwo, where Daudu and Adesina were re-arraigned twice on amended charges.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, fielded 13 witnesses and tendered 47 exhibits to prove the charges against Daudu.
Though Daudu, through his lawyer, Mr. O.J. Onoja (SAN), called seven witnesses in a bid to prove his innocence, the court however found him guilty as Justice Ekwo held that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Late last year, the EFCC had expressed fear over the possibility that the case could start afresh after Justice Ekwo announced that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, had asked Justice P.M. Ayuba of the Lokoja Division of the court to take over the case.
But following the plea by the EFCC, through its lawyer, Shittu, asking Justice Auta to review the decision, the case file was returned to Justice Ekwo, who eventually delivered judgment on Monday, convicting Daudu and sentencing him to two years imprisonment.