Abdulrasheed Maina Begs Court To Set Aside Order Foreclosing His Right Of Defence

The lawyer said the application, brought pursuant to Section 36(4) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), was accompanied with a 13-paragraph affidavit.

The former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrashed Maina / Photo credit: Vanguard
The former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrashed Maina / Photo credit: Vanguard

Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), on Thursday, prayed a Federal High Court, Abuja to set aside the order foreclosing his right to call witnesses in the money laundering case filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC).

Maina, through his lawyer, Anayo Adibe, also prayed the court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, to set aside its order made on July 16, closing his case for adoption of final written addresses of parties in the suit.

When the case was called, Adibe, counsel to Maina, informed the court that the matter was adjourned for hearing of his client’s motion dated August 6.

“We have a motion dated August 6. The application is seeking for the order of your lordship setting aside the order for foreclosure of the 1st defendant (Maina’s) defence being made on July 16.

“It is also seeking for your order reopening the first defendant defence in the interest of fair hearing and in the interest of justice,” he said.

The lawyer said the application, brought pursuant to Section 36(4) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), was accompanied with a 13-paragraph affidavit.

“We rely on all the grounds in the motion and we also rely on all the paragraphs, particularly Paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10 and 11 of the affidavit.

“We also filed a written address in support of the application. In the written address, we formulated one issue for determination and canvass argument.

“We adopt the written address as our argument in support, urging your lordship to grant this application in the interest of fair hearing and interest of justice,” he said.

Adibe told the court that he was not served with the notice of the July 16 hearing, hence, he was unaware that the matter would be coming up, although he was at the court complex for another matter.

He said it was out of respect he had for the court that he delegated another lawyer, A.A. Onoja, to appear on his behalf when he got the information that the matter would come up that day.

Counsel to EFCC, Farouk Abdullah, told the court that the agency filed a counter affidavit on Oct. 5 to opposed Maina’s request.

“The said counter affidavit has four paragraphs and we rely on all the depositions therein.

“We also filed a written address in adopting same as our final submission in this application.

“We urge my lord to dismiss the application for lacking in merit, and order that a final written address be adopted,” he said.

Arguing, Abdullah said the issue raised in Paragraphs 4 and 7 of Maina had been addressed by the court in a bench ruling delivered on July 16.

According to him, the said ruling is subsisting and there is no appeal against it from the defendant.

He described Maina’s application as “an abuse of court process.”

The counsel said contrary to Adibe’s claim that he was not serve the July 16 hearing notice, it was on court record that the baillif served the defence counsel a notice of hearing.

He urged the court to discountenance Adibe’s argument.

Besides, Abdullah argued further that Maina’s counsel did not file further affidavit, making the commission’s counter affidavit to remain unchallenged.

Justice Abang then asked the registrar to confirm the proof of service of the July 16 hearing notice served on Maina’s counsel by the bailiff in the court file.

The registrar confirmed the service on Maina’s counsel.

The judge, who asked Adibe if he appealed the court decision on the foreclosure of Maina’s right to further call witnesses in the matter, also asked if he appealed the November 18, 2020, order granted the prosecution that proceedings should be heard in his client’s absence.

In response, Adibe though acknowledged that no appeal was made in that regard, he said the latest application was only seeking for the court to set aside its order because the court did not have jurisdiction in making such order foreclosing the right of defence to call witnesses.

He cited a 2005 case to back his argument.

Again, Adibe argued that the address where the hearing notice of July 16 was served was not his.

He said the correct address of service of court hearing is Suit E30, Sabongale Shopping Compkex, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Jabi District, Abuja, and not in Kado.

He urged the court to reopen the case.

Justice Abang, who adjourned the matter until Friday for ruling, ruled that “if the matter succeeds, the order will be set aside but if it fails, and accordingly dismissed, parties shall be ordered to adopt their final written addresses if any.”

(NAN)

Written by The Interview Editors

The Interview is a niche publication, targeting leaders and aspiring leaders in business, politics, entertainment, sports, arts, the professions and others within society’s upper middle class and high-end segment in Nigeria.