N2bn fraud trial: Court decides Maina’s fate November 8*Dismisses Maina prayer to reopen defence

Abdulrasheed Maina the Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team whose Son Faisal was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment on Thursday will know his own fate on November 8, 2021 Justice Okon Abang announced on Friday.

The judge fixed the date for judgment on the criminal trial that have witnessed  series of adjournment  and dramas including the defendant jumping of bail and the  detention of his surety a serving Senator Ali Ndume in prison, as the  defendant counsel Anayo Adibe  failed to file final written address.

Prosecution counsel Faruk Abdullahi while adopting his final written address urged the court to convict Maina according to the charges.

Justice Abang had earlier during the hearing on Friday overruled an application for adjournment  brought  by Maina counsel that was vehemently opposed  by the Prosecution. The judge said that the application for adjournment was not based on any reasonable ground and was in violation of order of court made on July 16, 2021.

The Court had earlier on Friday  dismissed Abdulrasheed Maina application seeking to reopen his  defence and ordered the counsel for the  parties to proceed and adopt their final written addresses.

Justice Abang  rejected Maina application on the ground that the defendant counsel that represented him on July 16, 2021 when the decision to close his defence was taken was heard on merit .

The embattled Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team , Maina who is standing trial on six count charge for allegedly laundering N2bn  has  brought the motion on notice  praying  the Court to reopen his defence that was closed on July 16, 2021.

In his ruling , Justice Abang said that the 1st defendant -Maina was given adequate opportunity to  be heard and he chooses not to take full advantage of the opportunity to defend himself .

The judge said that the Record of the court  shows that the 1st defendant – Maina was represented by his counsel A. Abel on  July 16, when the decision was taken closing the defendant defence  and the counsel did object to it.

Justice Abang also ruled that hearing notice which Maina relied upon in asking for the reopening of his defence was duly served on the Defence counsel by bailiff as shown  in the court record.

” Hearing notice on court filed show that the bailiff of  court served the counsel on July 13, 2021 at 4 pm.The judge further noted that Abel has appeared in the matter for the defendant in previous sittings .

“If the defendant counsel was not served as he claimed how was he able to know the matter was coming up and he  traced the Court venue that sat in a different room from it usual venue .He announced his appearance but refused to produce witnesses” 

“I hold that the defendant counsel was duly served with the hearing notice and it is in  my view  that the counsel lied on oath on his deposition that he knew about the matter while he was in the court for another matter.”
“This is so because according to the record he did not appear for any other parties in  the cause list on that day, the judge ruled.