The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday held that the request by chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, seeking it to compel some persons to testify in his ongoing trial, was done in haste.
Justice Okon Abang, while delivering a ruling on the oral application filed by Sani Katu, SAN, to withdraw from Maina’s suit, also said Maina should have himself to blame over the development on the subpoena he filed.
Justice Abang, who said that he was bound by the Appeal Court decision to sign the subpoena brought by the ex-pension reformed boss, explained that Maina filed the application on March 8 and expected the recipients to appear in court to testify on March 9.
“I merely signed a subpoena based on the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Metuh vs. Federal Republic of Nigeria that compelled the court to sign a subpoena seeking to compel Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) to come to court and testify on behalf of Metuh.
“But ordinarily, I could not have, on my own, signed a subpoena to compel an individual a day before the matter is fixed for hearing to come to court and testify for the first defendant (Maina),” he held.
According to him, the first defendant failed to take advantage of the opportunity offered him to be heard. “So, he has himself to blame”.
“The first defendant cannot, on the 8th of March, seek to compel the appearance of witnesses to come to court on the 9th of March,” Abang said.
After the judge refused to grant Katu’s prayer, he ordered that the second defence witness, Mr. Charles Enakaeno, be called to the witness box to give his testimony.
Responding, Katu told the court that Enakaeno was not in court.
The lawyer said the witness had an accident the previous day, making it impossible for him to appear in court. He prayed the court for a short adjournment, in line with Section 396 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
Lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Farouk Abdullah, did not oppose the application. Justice Abang adjourned the matter until March 11 for trial continuation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that, based on Maina’s application filed on March 8, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, among others, was summoned to testify in the ongoing case against Maina.
Also to appear in court include the former acting chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu; Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Femi Falana, SAN and M. Mustapha of Zenith Bank Abuja.
Others who were subpoenaed include Hassan Salihu of ICPC; G.T. Idriss also from ICPC; Mohammed Wakil, retired Commissioner of Police and Chief Kenneth Amabem.
Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; and Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank; Mr. Ibrahim Kaigama of NIPSS Jos and the director of compliance with CBN were also issued subpoenas.
The subpoenas, signed by Justice Abang, read: “You are commanded in the name of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend before this court at court 6, on 9th, 10th, 11th day of March 2021 at 9 o’clock in the forenoon, and so from day to day till the above case is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the 1st defendant.”
Maina and his company, Common Input Limited (second defendant), are being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2.1bn.
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