ICYMI: Maina seeks to vacate order continuing trial in absentia

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Friday Olokor, Abuja

A former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdurasheed Maina, has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to vacate an order made to continue his alleged money laundering trial in absentia.

Justice Okon Abang, had on November 18, 2020, ordered that Maina’s trial be continued in his absence after he jumped bail and refused to appear in Court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Maina for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

The former PRTT chairman was later arrested in the Niger Republic and extradited to Nigeria to continue his trial.

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The court also made an order remanding him in prison, pending the conclusion of his trial.

During the resumed trial on Wednesday, Maina’s lawyer, Anayo Adibe, moved an application praying the court to set aside both orders made by the court.

According to him, the order of the court regarding trial in absentia is “spent” and ought to be set aside considering the fact that the defendant had been brought back to face trial.

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But the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, objected to the application, submitted that setting aside the trial in absentia order would be “tantamount to setting aside all the proceedings conducted by this court in the absence of the 1st defendant.”

He said, “On December 10, the 1st defendant feigned illness and staged a drama before the court.

“In such circumstances, the order of the court made on December 18, will still be useful so that the matter can proceed even in absence of the 1st defendant”, Abubakar said.

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He urged the court to dismiss Maina’s application.

Justice Abang fixed February 25(today) to rule on the application and another application seeking to be released on bail.

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