By Williams Anuku, Abuja
The trial of Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, son of Abdulrashed Maina, former chairman of Pension Reform Task Team suffered some setback, as Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, adjourned the case till December 8, 2020.
The court took the decision after his counsel, Francis Oransanye, informed the court that he had withdrawn his legal services to the defendant.
As a result of the absence of legal representation for the defence, prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar asked the court to foreclose the right of the defendant for a defence to the testimonies against him.
In granting the prayer, the judge stated that he was foreclosing the defendant’s right in the matter “having been given the same opportunity to defend same but failed to take advantage of the said opportunity,” and gave prosecution seven days from today to file its written address.
It could be recalled that the third prosecution witness in Faisal’s trial, Rouqayya Ibrahim, a Principal Detective Superintendent (PDS) with Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had in her testimony on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, revealed that the defendant made under declaration of assets in his Code of Conduct Bureau asset declaration form as well as contradictory statements to the EFCC and the court, concerning the registration of the company he allegedly used in siphoning funds to the tune of N58million.
Because Faisal was not in court and did not send legal representation in the four consecutive adjournments after his release on bail November 26, 2019, Justice Abang on November 18, 2020, revoked his bail, issue a bench warrant against him and ruled that his trial will continue in his absence.
In the same vein, the judge ruled that his surety, Hon Sani Umar San Galadima, of the House of Representatives, representing Kaura Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State should appear in court on November 25, 2020, to show cause why he should not forfeit his N60 million bail bond for his failure to produce the defendant in court.
At the sitting, counsel to the surety, M E. Sheriff, in doing what was stipulated for his client, asked for a short adjournment to study the prosecution’s counter-affidavit and file an appropriate response, to which the prosecution made no objection as Abubakar noted that the surety was willing to forfeit his property, contained in the bail bond, but was only suing for time to dispose it.
Recall that Faisal is being prosecuted by the EFCC, on a three-count charge of false declaration of assets and money laundering to the tune of N58 million.
Justice Abang adjourned the matter till December 8 and 11, 2020, for the continuation of proceedings against the surety and adoption of prosecution’s final written address, respectively.