The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday closed its money laundering case against former Niger state governor Babangida Aliyu and two others; Tanko Beji and Umar Nasko, before Judge Mikail Aliyu of the High Court of the State of Niger.

The trio were facing prosecution by the EFCC for alleged criminal breach of trust, conspiracy and misappropriation of environmental funds to the tune of more than N2billion.

The EFCC revealed this in a statement on Thursday night obtained by our correspondent.

The statement read: “In today’s session, the prosecution’s lawyer Faruk Abdallah, based on a request dated October 24 and filed on October 26, 2022, closed the prosecution’s case.

“Addressing the court, he said that the prosecution, through witness testimony and documents produced in the course of the trial, had established a prima facie case against the defendants to justify their opening their defence.

“The first defendant was the executive governor of the state of Niger; he presupposes, therefore, that by virtue of his office, he held the resources of his state in trust. A public office is a position of trust. Under the surveillance of the first defendant, money was transferred from an account domiciled in Government House, the money was diverted for personal gain. These facts have been sufficiently proven to the court through prosecution witnesses and evidence,” he said.

However, the lawyer for the first defendant, Oladije Ayodele, SAN, informed the court that the prosecution failed to establish the crime and requested that no case be filed. “The prosecution has not been able to defend the charge. I wish to call your honor’s attention to state that there was no evidence of the crime. We are at a stage where we will examine the evidence. They are saying that they have established a prima facie case, but my prayer is that they have not established a prima facie case.”

In addition, the second defendant’s lawyer, Ibrahim Isiyaku, SAN, informed the court that no case had been brought by the defense, adding: “the second defendant is on trial on two counts, one and three; conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. The prosecution was asked to establish that the second defendant intentionally assisted the first defendant in dishonestly converting certain sums of money for the first defendant’s use.”

“The second charge related to conspiracy cannot be sustained, we urge the court to confirm our filing, confirm a filing without a case,” he said.

The third defendant’s lawyer, Mamman Osman, SAN, also informed the court that he had filed a non-submission request and pleaded with the court to release the third defendant.

In response to the defense attorney’s submissions, Abdallah urged the court to dismiss his no-case submission and order them to begin their defense.

Judge Mikail subsequently adjourned until February 16, 2023 to rule on the request.