From Mike Sogbola- Maiduguri
A Federal High Court sitting in Maiduguri has adjourned the trial of the former Minister of State for Power, Hon. Muhammad Wakil due to his absence in court.
The judge of the court, Justice Jude Dagat on Monday adjourned the trial to 26th June 2019 for re-arraignment after Hon. Muhammad Wakil was found absent.
Others arraigned with him include, Garba Abacha, Ibrahim Birma, Dr. Abubakar Kullima and Engr. Muhammad Kachalla, on a-7 count charge for the offence of criminal conspiracy to commit money laundering to the tune of N450 million.
The other four defendants arraigned with Wakil, were all former political aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 general elections. They were first arraigned in June 2, 2018.
The case was initially handled by Justice Muhammad Tanko who vacated it on retirement from service before it was assigned to Justice Dagat.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, May 27, 2019, Counsel to the first defendant U. H. Chiroma informed the court that, Wakil has traveled to Saudi Arabia for a lesser Hajj, with the counsel for the prosecution, Fatsuma Muhammad, urging the court to take judicial notice of the absence of the first defendant.
Muhammad said: “My lord, the case has suffered series of adjournments all at the instance of the first defendant. My lord should take judicial notice.”
While adjourning the matter to 18th June for arraignment, Justice Dagat observed with dismay the absence of the defendant. “I have consistently observed with dismay, the absence of the first defendant, I will oblige the request for the last time”.
In another suit, the Maiduguri Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned one Abba Usman, before Justice Umaru Fadawu, of the Borno State High Court sitting in Maiduguri, on a seven-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, obtaining under false pretence and issuance of dud cheque to the tune of over N7 million.
According to the complainant, the accused person, Abba Usman collected monies as facilitation fees from him to secure contracts and jobs for various individuals and companies.
Usman similarly issued dud cheque to the complainant, which on presentation at the bank was rejected due to insufficient funds in his account.
Investigation by the EFCC, established prima facie evidence against the accused person, which made his to be arraigned for criminal breach of trust, obtaining by false pretence and issuance of dud cheque.
The second count to the accused read:
“That you Abba Usman being a businessman, on 23 June, 2016 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtained the sum of N 1,9000,000.00 (One Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) from Janema Nigeria Limited through Emmanuel O. Ejomah, via your GTB bank account No. 0025658339 under the pretence that the money represent payment for facilitating a contract with TETFUND, which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) b of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences, Act 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act.”
The accused person pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when read to him.
In view of his pleas, prosecuting counsel Fatsuma Muhammad prayed for a trial date and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Fadawu thereafter, adjourned to 26th
June 2019 for commencement of trial and ordered the accused to be remanded in prison custody pending trial.