…the next witness was in court.
Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTM), and his son, Faisal, are to remain in Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja, till January 2020.
Justice Okon Abang, who gave the order, on Wednesday, adjourned hearing on Abdulrasheed’s bail variation application till Jan. 13, 2020 while Faisal’s trial continuation was adjourned till Jan. 20, 2020.
Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Abang had said that though it would not be convenient for the court to take trial, bail variation arguments would be taken.
EFCC’s counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, however, said he was ready for trial continuation and that the next witness was in court.
On his part, Abdulrasheed’s lawyer, Mohammed Monguno, reminded the court of the pending application filed on Dec. 6 for bail variation.
Abubakar, therefore, urged the court to adjourn hearing on the bail variation application because the defence had just served on him its further affidavit the same day.
“We apply that the hearing be adjourned to enable us react to their further affidavit,” he said.
Monguno, who described the motion as “simple application,” said the call for the adjournment was to delay proceeding.
“We were the ones who filed further affidavit in response to their counter affidavit.
“We urge Your Lordship not to grant their prayer because it is an attempt to delay this matter,” he said.
Deborah Apete, Counsel to Maina’s company, Common Input Investment Limited, adopted the submission of Monguno, saying “the motion is ripe for hearing.”
Abubakar, in his argument, said that Maina’s application was brought relevant to provision of ACJA and 1999 constitution.
He, however, said that there was no provision in ACJA or the constitution that precludes ones from filing further counter-affidavit in reaction to further affidavit filed by the applicant.
“What the first defendant filed was a further and better affidavit.
“Section 36 of 1999 Constitution affords us the right to file further counter-affidavit,” he said.
Abubakar said Maina’s application was filed on Dec. 17 but they deliberately served him Dec. 18 in order to deny EFCC the right to fair hearing by way of responding to the further and better affidavit.
“We urge Your Lordship to discountenance the learned senior counsel’s plea,” he added.
Ruling, Justice Abang acknowledged that he had already signified intention to take the application.
He, however, said that there was no provision of ACJA stopping the prosecution from filing further counter-affidavit.
“What is fair is fair in both civil and criminal proceeding.
“I think the law allows the prosecution to file a further counter-affidavit,” citing Denis Amadi and Ozor Mbachi 2016 case in which the Court of Appeal overruled his decision.
The judge then adjourned taking the bail variation application till Jan. 13, 2020, while he adjourned the trial continuation till Jan. 14, 15, 16 and 17, 2020.
Also, Justice Abang adjourned the trial continuation of Faisal till Jan. 20 and 21, 2020.
The judge said it would not “be convenient for the court to take further trial today.”
He said the date would also be to cross-examined the second prosecution witness.
NobleReporters recall that Justice Abang had, on Nov. 25, admitted Abdulrasheed Maina to a bail in the sum of N1 billion.
The judge, who gave the ruling, also ordered that Maina must produce two sureties who must be serving senators.
The two lawmakers, according to the judge, must not be standing any criminal trial in any court in the country.
He also ruled that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500 million bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.
Abang also admitted Faisal Maina to a bail in the sum of N60 million on Nov. 26.
The judge, who gave the ruling, also said the defendant should produce a surety, who must be a member of the House of Representatives in the like sum.
However, both of them had been unable to meet the bail conditions.
In the last adjourned date Justice Abang granted Faisal’s plea to be transferred to Kuje Correctional Centre from Police Tactical Squad, Asokoro.