Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja on Friday fixed Nov. 8 for judgment in the alleged N2.1 billion fraud suit filed against Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had, on Oct. 25, 2019, arraigned Maina (1st defendant), alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd (2nd defendant) before the judge.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion. Earlier, Anayo Adibe, who was counsel to Maina, had prayed the court to give the defence more time to file their final written addresses, following the dismissal of their Aug. 6 motion, praying the court to reopen his client’s case to allow them call their witnesses.
He said he made the plea in the interest of fair hearing and the interest of justice. But the EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah opposed the call for an adjournment. Abdullah stressed that in the last adjourned date (on July 16), the court gave a specific order that the final written addresses of all the parties would be heard.
According to him, the defendant has almost three months to comply with court order but they did not do so.“Only for the defendant to ask for an adjournment this morning.“The defendant cannot dictate to this court how to conduct business.“We are opposed to the application for adjournment.
If it pleases my lord, may we proceed on adoption of our final written address,” the agency’s lawyer said.Justice Abang, in a short ruling then closed Maina’s right to file a final written address and ordered Abdullah to adopt his final written addresses.The judge held that the defence had denied themselves to be heard and not the court.
“They cannot dictate to the court when to file their written addresses and no material is placed before the court to seek for an adjournment in their favour,” he heldAbang, who noted that Maina counsel only adopted a legal strategy to further delay the trial, said: “Where the strategy fails, they cannot turn around and beg the court.”
He then adjourned the matter for judgment.
NAN reports that Faisal, Maina’s son, was on Thursday, committed to 24 years imprisonment on three-count charge bordering on money laundering.
The judge said the prison terms; five years for count one, 14 years for count two and five years for count three would run concurrently.(NAN)