Despite the absence of Abdulrasheed Maina and not being represented by any lawyer, the trial of ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Tasks Team (PRTT) continued on Tuesday before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Maina is being tried with a firm – Common Input Property and Investment Limited – by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly laundering about N2billion.
On Monday, 23rd November, 2020, the court ordered the remand of Maina’s surety, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume in prison pending when he is either able to produce Maina (who is believed to have jumped bail) or pay a bail bond of N500million into Federal Government’s account and produce a receipt), and adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of trial.
At the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday, neither Francis Oronsaye (who represented Maina on November 23, 2020) nor A. Adedipe (who, the court noted, last appeared in the case for the second defendant) was in court.
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling, noted that both defence lawyers stayed away from court without any reason, and elected to proceed with the trial.
Justice Abang said the defence lawyers have chosen to abandon proceedings without any reasons and should have themselves to blame for their action.
He agreed with the prosecution that the normal business of the day should be allowed to proceed.
Lead prosecuting lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar has called three witnesses for the day.
The first witness of the day, PW6 was to be cross examined by the defence lawyers, but had to be discharged, the judge having held that the defence lawyers failed to utilise the opportunity granted by the court for them to cross-examine the witness.
He called two others, who he led in evidence, tendered documents through them and were also discharged because the court found that the defence lawyers made themselves unavailable to cross-examine the witnesses.