Justice Sale Musa Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Kaduna has pronounced a guilty verdict against Mansur Ali Mashi, a former member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, and some other bank officials, Abdulmumini Mustapha, Shehu Aliyu, and Muazu Abdu. The trial went on for a record 12 years and involved 6 witnesses, as well as several exhibits. The charges brought forth against Mashi were those of deception and theft, to which he had pleaded not guilty. According to the charges, he fraudulently obtained a loan worth N212,439,552 from Sterling Bank in the name of fake entities but used all of it himself.
Mashi’s absence in court did not stop the judge from delivering a verdict against him. He was found liable for all eight counts against him and will be sentenced once he is brought before the court. The same goes for the fourth defendant, who was also absent but was declared guilty on all charges.
Abdulmumin Mustapha, the second defendant, was sentenced to prison for five years without the option of a fine after being found guilty on 15 counts. He will also have to pay N40,000,000 in restitution to Sterling Bank. Shehu Aliyu, the third defendant, was cleared of charges one to eight but found guilty on counts nine to fifteen, receiving a total of 35 years in jail.
Mansur Ali Mashi isn’t out of the woods yet – he has another criminal case of contempt of court pending before the same court, and the verdict will be delivered soon. The allegations suggest that the former representative sold properties that had been confiscated from him by the court via an interim forfeiture order.
The conviction of an ex-lawmaker sends a clear message that nobody is above the law, and any criminal activity will be punished. Justice has been served, but it was not a swift process. Reaching this point took over a decade of persistence and hard work.