By Alex Enumah
Following the foreclosure of his right to file a no-case submission in his alleged money laundering trial, former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday disclosed that he would call 24 witnesses to prove his innocence of the charges against him.
Maina and a firm, Common Input Ltd are standing trial on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Maina had, on December 9, hinted of filing a no-case submission since all the evidence brought against him by the EFCC were insufficient to establish a prima facie case against him.
On the adjourned date for the no-case submission, Maina’s lawyer, Mr Anayo
Adibe told the court that he was yet to be given record of proceedings from the day Maina was arraigned to enable him defend his client but, while the proceedings was ongoing, the Maina suddenly collapsed in the courtroom, thereby forcing an adjournment of proceedings.
When the matter came up yesterday, Maina’s lawyer noted that though the matter was adjourned for him to present the no-case submission, he said he would not be able to continue as planned because the record of proceedings of the court had not been given to them by the court registrar.
He, therefore, asked for an adjournment to enable them get the request for him to make the no-case submission.
However, the EFCC lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, who disagreed with Adibe, said the application for an adjournment and the reason given were “nothing but a delay tactic which also amounts to an application for stay of proceedings.”
Abubakar, who cited a relevant section of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and a Supreme Court authority, urged the court to reject the Maina’s prayer and to hold that the 1st defendant has foreclosed his right to a no-case submission.
Justice Abang, in his ruling held that Maina had adequate time and facility to make his no-case submission but failed to do so.
He then foreclosed the right of Maina to no-case submission and ordered him to open his defence.
He adjourned the matter until January 26 and 27, 2021 for Maina to open his defence.