A Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, yesterday 25th April, 2016, sentenced Gabriel Daudu, a former member of the Kogi State House of Assembly and former Caretaker Chairman, Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of the state, to 154 years imprisonment for N1.4 billion fraud and money laundering.
Mr. Daudu was first arraigned in April 2010 and was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 208-count charge bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N1.4billion.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who tried the case, in his judgment found Daudu guilty of 77 out of the 208 count charge brought against him by the EFCC, through its prosecutor, Wahab Shittu.
In his ruling, Justice Ekwo held that the prosecution proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt, and as a result sentenced Mr. Gabriel Daudu to two years on each of the 77 counts to run concurrently.
Before the lawmaker was convicted, prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu, presented different exhibits before the court and fielded 13 witnesses to prove the case against him while the convict on the other hand, called seven defence witnesses through his counsel, Mr. O.J. Onaja (SAN) to prove that he was innocent.
In the course of the trial, which lasted five years, Justice Ekwo indicated that the trial may have to be started all over as Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, asked Justice P.M. Ayuba of the Lokoja Division of the court to take over the case.
Nevertheless, Mr. Shittu urged Justice Auta to reconsider the decision. The Chief Judge, thereafter, returned the case file to Justice Ekwo, who eventually found Mr. Daudu guilty of 77 count charge on Monday.
Since the sentences are running at the same time, Mr. Daudu will only be imprisoned for two years.
Recall that Mr. Gabriel Daudu who had been standing trial together with a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, Albert Adesina since April, 2010 over the case of N1.4 billion fraud and money laundering was first arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court in Abuja before Adamu was transferred to the Federal High Court Lokoja. However, Daudu’s co-defendant, Adesina was discharged and acquitted.