Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bauchi State, Saleh Hussaini Gamawa and Aminu Umar Gadiya, have been convicted by a Federal High Court, in Bauchi and sentenced to two years imprisonment for offences that bordered on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N142, 460,000.00
Justice Hassan Dikko convicted the duo on March 2, while ruling on the two-count charge brought against the defendants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
The defendants were first arraigned on June 4, 2018, and re-arraigned on October 16, 2018, on a two-count charge for allegedly receiving over N142m to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections in Bauchi State.
The count one of the charge reads: “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 Court did agree among 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 reads: “That you, Sale Hussaini Gamawa and Aminu Umar Gadiya, all members of the Finance and Funds Disbursement Committee of the PDP 2015 General Elections, and in such capacities sometime in March 2015 in Bauchi State within the jurisdiction of this Court did accept cash payment of N142m from the Directorate of Finance, Bauchi State PDP Campaign Organisation exceeding the required threshold of cash payment, thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1, 16(1)(d) and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition)Act, 2011 (as amended) now No.1, 2012.”
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting the stage for the case to proceed to full trial. In the course of the trial, the prosecution presented one witness and tendered documents marked as Exhibits A1, A2, and A3. Both defendants testified in their respective defence.
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.
The defence, on the other hand, submitted that the evidence presented against the defendant by the prosecution was not credible, urging the court to discharge and acquit the defendants. Justice Dikko then reserved judgment for March 2, 2023.
In the well-considered judgment that 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 proved the cases against the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt on count one and convicted them as charged. He, however, discharged and acquitted the 2nd defendant on count two.
Before sentencing the defendants, Justice Dikko acknowledged their pleas for leniency but insisted that they must be punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
“I consider your pleas that you have family who will suffer in your absence, thus I will be lenient, however, your offences must be punished appropriately to deter others in the society from perpetrating the same.” He, consequently, sentenced the 1st and 2nd defendants to two years imprisonment at the Bauchi Correction Service or a fine of N3m each in lieu of imprisonment on count one; while the 1st defendant bagged a further two years imprisonment or a fine of N3m in lieu of imprisonment on count two.
The sentences are to run concurrently from March 2, 2023.