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N2.1 billion Fraud: Court to deliver judgment in suit against Maina November 8

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Mr Maina’s son, Faisal, was on Thursday committed to 24 years imprisonment on three-count charge bordering on money laundering.

AFederal High Court in Abuja on Friday fixed November 8 for judgment in the N2.1 billion fraud suit against Abdulrasheed Maina, chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on October 25, 2019, arraigned Maina (1st defendant), alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd (2nd defendant) before Justice Okon Abang.

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 August 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, stressing 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 had 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 EFCC’s lawyer said.

Mr Abang in a short ruling closed Mr Maina’s right to file a final written address saying the defence, and not the court, had denied themselves to be heard. He went ahead and ordered Mr Abdullah to adopt his final written addresses.

“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 held.

Mr Abang said that Mr Maina’s counsel only adopted a legal strategy to further delay the trial, adding, “Where the strategy fails, they cannot turn around and beg the court.”

Mr Maina’s son, Faisal, was on Thursday committed to 24 years imprisonment on three-count charge bordering on money laundering by Mr Abang.

In his ruling, 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)

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