The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is poised to suspend the multi-billion naira corruption probe of Bala Mohammed, the newly elected governor of Bauchi state.
Since his exit as FCT minister in 2015 and until his election this month, Mohammed faced corruption trial arising from alleged land racketeering.
Following months of investigation, Mohammed was first arrested in late 2016 in what anti-graft detectives suspected might have involved up to N1.6 trillion in questionable land allocations around Abuja, the nation’s most expensive real estate market.
Mohammed was suspected of receiving bribes of N550 million to illegally allocate public properties to Aso Savings Limited. The governor-elect was also accused of receiving N314 million in separate suspicious payment from Aso Savings. He was the mortgage banker’s board chairman at the time of the questionable transactions, prosecutors said in court filings.
He was subsequently slammed with an initial N864 million fraud. He was then arraigned on May 10, 2017, before Abubakar Talba of the Gudu Division of the Federal Capital Territory High Court and granted a bail, which he has enjoyed ever since, as his trial proceeded in court.
Concise News understands there is a multitude of other probes involving billions of naira pending against the politician as of this week.
While his immunity would prevent prosecutors from bringing charges that may arise from further investigations, it would not prevent those investigations from proceeding on their own.
It will be practically impossible to get a conviction before May 29th, the moment he is sworn in as governor. Immunity clause is invoked. His lawyers too would bank on this.
On the campaign trail, Mohammed repeatedly dismissed the charges as politically motivated, saying the EFCC had not been able to pin anything on him.
He described himself as a victim of a vindictive crackdown on opposition elements, especially officials of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Different strokes for different folks
While Mohammed might have got a crucial reprieve from all corruption allegations against him for at least another four years — baring impeachment or other outliers that could drive him from office — his son will continue to answer all outstanding cases of graft, the EFCC says.
According to Premium Times, Tony Orilade, the EFCC spokesperson said Shamsudeen Bala was also being prosecuted, and his trial would continue as he has no immunity from prosecution.
The son was charged with laundering about N1.1 billion, using a mishmash of shady tech and agro firms, court documents alleged. Some of the firms included Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd; Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd; Diakin Telecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd.