Court remands Maina in prison custody till end of trial, as counsel withdraws from case

The fugitive and former Chairman,Pension Reform Task Team,Abdulrasheed Maina facing money laundering trial is to remain in prison custody till the end of his trial, just as his former counsel, Francis Oransanye, formally withdrew his services to  defend him.

Penpushing reports that,Justice Okong Abang of the Federal High Court,gave the ruling on Friday and adjourned the matter till December 8, 2020 upon application by a new defence counsel, Adaji Abel.

“The defendant is already on bench warrant, his bail having been revoked, so he shall be remanded in a correctional service, pending conclusion of trial. The matter is hereby adjourned till December 8, 2020 at the instance of the first defendant for continuation of trial”, the judge declared

Penpushing further reports that, the order for Maina to remain in prison custody till the end of his trial followed his jumping of  his bail by fleeing to Niger Republic, where he was arrested by the International Police (Interpol) and extradited to Nigeria on Thursday to face trial.

The new defence counsel applied for adjournment to enable him familiarize himself with the case but prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubaker opposed the application  on the ground that the ninth prosecution witness, (PW9), Rouqayyah Ibrahim, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) detective was in court to continue her evidence-in-chief.

Penpushing also reports that, Abang in ruling against the prosecution stated that, “the first defendant is entitled to all his constitutional rights under Section 36 of 1999 Constitution, especially the rights that have to do with fair hearing.

‘The defendant is represented by counsel and the counsel prayed for a short date to enable him to be properly briefed’.

‘I am inclined to accommodate the counsel for the first defendant in the overall interest of justice,” noting  that the ninth prosecution witness, who has been testifying in Maina’s trial in absentia, may continue from where she stopped on Thursday, December 3, when the trial now resumes’.

“It is also possible to allow the PW9 that has already commenced her evidence to complete same and for the defence counsel to take a date for cross-examination, but I think it is safer and indeed neater to adjourn the matter to enable the first defendant brief his counsel in the overall interest of justice”,Abang said

Penpushing reports that, the accused counsel had earlier filed a notice of withdrawal in court on November 25, 2020.

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