JUSTICE Sale Musa Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Kaduna handed down a guilty verdict to Mansur Ali Mashi, a former member of the House of Representatives.
The conviction came after a lengthy trial that spanned 12 years and involved charges of conspiracy and obtaining by pretenses. Alongside Mashi, three bank officials – Abdulmumini Mustapha, Shehu Aliyu, and Muazu Abdu – were also convicted.
The charges against Mashi were brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which accused him of using fake companies to secure a loan facility worth N212,439,552 from Sterling Bank. Mashi subsequently diverted the funds for personal use, leading to his conviction on eight counts of fraud.
When the defendants were arraigned, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. The case proceeded to trial, but experienced several setbacks due to the retirement or elevation of the trial judges. Despite these setbacks, the prosecution was able to call six witnesses and present numerous exhibits to support their case.
At the last adjourned date, both parties submitted their final written addresses. The case was adjourned until June 15 and 16, 2023, when the judge was expected to deliver a verdict.
On June 15, 2023, the court reconvened, but the first and fourth defendants were absent. Despite their absence, the judge issued a guilty verdict for counts 1 to 8 against the first defendant, and he was convicted accordingly. The fourth defendant was also found guilty on all counts and convicted.
However, the sentencing for both defendants was reserved until they could be arrested and brought before the court.
The Abdulmumin Mustapha, the former branch manager of Sterling Bank, was found guilty on counts 1 to 15 and sentenced to five years imprisonment on each count, without the option of a fine. The court also ordered Mustapha to restitute Sterling Bank in the sum of N40,000,000.
The third defendant, the former Head of Operation of the bank, was discharged on counts 1-8 but convicted on counts 9 to 15. He was also sentenced to five years imprisonment on each count, without the option of a fine.
Meanwhile, the judgment for the first defendant, Mansur Ali Mashi, in a separate case of contempt of court is scheduled for June 16, 2023. In this case, Mashi is accused of selling properties that were confiscated from him by the court through an interim forfeiture order.