Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Faisal Maina to receive judgement in absentia on October 4

The judge had earlier fixed October 2 but realised it fell on a Saturday.

• July 16, 2021

A division of the Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed October 4 to deliver judgement on the trial of Faisal Maina, son of Abdulrasheed Maina, the chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT)

The presiding judge, Okon Abang, had earlier fixed October 2 to deliver judgment in the trial.

However, after attending to a number of cases, Mr Abang reverted to Mr Faisal’s matter.

The judge realised that October 2 falls on a Saturday and called for the case file to adjourn the matter until October 4 for a judgement.

Mr Faisal, who is being prosecuted along with his father, Mr Maina, is standing a separate trial on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The defendant, who was arraigned by the EFCC on October 25, 2019, was admitted to bail on November 26, 2019, in the sum of N60 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a member of the House of Representatives.

However, Mr Faisal jumped bail around September 2020 and stopped attending his trial.

The lawmaker who stood as surety for Mr Faisal, Sani Dan-Galadima, had to forfeit the property which he used as a bail bond to the federal government, having failed to produce Faisal.

Mr Abang then revoked the bail granted to Mr Faisal, ordered his arrest and directed that his trial should proceed in absentia having being said to have jumped bail by the prosecution.

However, A.A. Onoja, who appeared for Mr Faisal, applied for a short adjournment on the grounds that he was not briefed on the development.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, argued that on March 17 when the case was adjourned, Anayo Adibe, who appeared for Mr Faisal, did not apply to file any written address, even after the ruling was delivered.

“Today is four months since that day and the defence has not done anything.

“I confirmed from Mr Onoja who announced appearance for the defendant and he informed me that he is representing Mr Adibe.

“I, therefore, urge my lord to refuse the application and allow us to adopt our written address,” he said.

Delivering the ruling, Mr Abang, recalled that the court on November 24, 2019, ordered the matter to be heard in Mr Faisal’s absence, and noted that Mr Faisal’s right to open defence was later foreclosed and the matter adjourned.

The judge dismissed the application for adjournment, stating that such a request was made in bad faith.

“Therefore, the application for the prosecution to adopt his written address deserves to succeed and is hereby granted,” he ruled.

Justice Abang, therefore, adjourned the matter until October 4 for judgment.

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