Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, adjourned till November 7, the trial of the embattled ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina for alleged fraud and money laundering to the tune of N2.1 billion.
The adjournment followed a medical report issued by the Medical Department of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), and endorsed by one Dr. Idowu Ajayi, which stated that the defendant was indisposed and required a bed rest and as such, would not be able to appear in court for day’s proceeding but would, however, be available in court as soon as he was fit.
The prosecution counsel, M.S Abubakar expressed dissatisfaction with the development, observing that he was not served the medical report. Curiously, the defence counsel also denied knowledge of the report, claiming that the Nigeria Correctional Service denied them access to their client on the basis of their claim of his bad state of health.
Because of the development, counsel to the second defendant, Adeola Adedipe, prayed the court for an adjournment to enable members of the defence team get across to their clients.
Justice Abang while deciding on the issue said that it was not mandatory that the court would adjourn because of a medical report placed before it, but has the right to exercise its discretion, adding that the medical report was supposed to assist the court in exercising its discretion.
He also held that the doctor who issued the medical report was supposed to state the period which the defendant’s bed rest would last, so as to enable the court take decision in exercising its discretion .
He however adjourned to the case to November 7, 2019 for continuation of hearing on the bail application and ordered the deputy comptroller of the NCS in-charge of Medical to examine Maina and report to the court.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Maina and his son, Faisal, both of whom were arrested in an Abuja hotel by the Department of State Services after a long period of hiding and subsequently handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.