The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, fixed October 2 for judgment in the trial of Faisal, son of the chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
The trial judge, Okon Abang, fixed the date for judgment after the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Abubakar, adopted his final written address.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Faisal, who was arraigned by the EFCC on October 25, 2019, jumped bail around September 2020 and stopped attending his trial.
Mr Abang, who issued a warrant for his arrest, ordered on November 24, 2020 for the trial to continue in his absence after the EFCC made the application to that effect.
Mr Maina is also standing a separate trial on a three-count charge of money laundering involving N2.1 billion.
He also jumped bail last year but was re-arrested in the Republic of Nigeria. The trial judge, Mr Abang, ordered his remand in prison when he was produced in court in December 2020.
A bail application he subsequently filed was dismissed by the court in February this year.
Maina’s trial stalled
Meanwhile, Mr Maina’s trial was stalled on Friday due to his absence from court.
NAN reports that an officer of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Kuje, told Mr Abang that the defendant was brought to the premises but could not be produced in the courtroom because he was suffering from ‘knee problem’.
Mr Abang had asked the officer why Mr Maina was not produced in court.
The judge directed the court registrar to pass a paper to the prison officer to write his name.
Responding, the officer said Maina was not in the courtroom because he was having problem on his two knees.
He, however, said though he was not in the courtroom, the former pension reformed boss was in a car outside the court premises.
“My lord, the defendant is in the car outside. He has problem with the both knees,” he said.
MR Abang then directed the registrar to tell him if he received the hearing notice for the sitting and that court sits at 9a.m.
“Registrar, tell him the sitting is in the court not outside the court,” the judge added.
Responding, the officer said, “We saw the hearing notice that we should produce him in courtroom and not outside the court.”
The judge then recorded that Mr Maina was absent from the proceedings.
Earlier, Mr Maina’s counsel, Abel Adaji, prayed the court for a short adjournment.
Mr Adaji hinged his application on the claim that he was not served with the hearing notice in time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had reported, on June 17, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had urged the Chief Judge of the court, John Tsoho, not to reassign some cases, including Maina’s suit, to another judge.