More details of how the embattled former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, is applying different strategies to delay his ongoing criminal trial before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court has been revealed.
According to a document exclusively obtained by our correspondent, Maina in a desperate move to frustrate his trail in an application addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, is requesting for a transfer of his case and that of his son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, to another judge.
This development is coming few days after his lawyers threatened in the open court that failure of the court to adjourn the matter at their instance will be met with dire consequence.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, a senior lawyer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described the application as frivolous and a deliberate attempt to frustrate and delay proceedings.
The senior lawyer, who blamed Maina’s lawyers for colluding with him to be mischievous, wondered why he would request for the transfer of a case that has already been partly heard to another Judge.
‘’I urge my lord the Chief Judge of the federal high court, Justice John Tsoho, to disregard the request of Maina seeking to transfer the case to another judge because it is grossly lacking in merit.
‘’Probably, Maina wants the matter to be transferred to a judge that will be soft on him, delay proceedings as well as dance to his tune. If we continue this way, the judiciary will not move forward.
‘’How can you explain the fact that someone who was busy enjoying his life when he was in Dubai would all of a sudden after his arraignment appear in court on a wheel chair? The CJ should not be deceived by his antics because people are already losing their confidence on the Judiciary and we must not give them room to continue to have that impression. If at the end of the day, Maina is not convinced with whichever way the verdict turns out, he can appeal. That is why we the Appeal and Apex court are there’’, he added.
In the meantime, a copy of the response to the application titled: ‘’Re: Application to transfer case No; FHC/CR/261/2019 between the Federal Republic of Nigeria V Abdulrasheed Maina and his son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina from Justice Okon Abang to another Judge of the Federal High Court’’ was sighted by our correspondent.
Describing the application as frivolous, Justice Abang in his response said that Maina has ulterior motive asking for the transfer of a part heard criminal matter another judge.
The judge, who also accused Maina’s lawyers of colluding with him to interfere with due administration of justice, urged the CJ to disregard the application as lacking in merit.
‘’I think this application is frivolous, time wasting exercise. I urge my lord to discountenance same and refuse the application. The matter is a part heard criminal matter. The trail is already ongoing.
‘’The defendant and his team of lawyers Ahmed Raji, SAN, Joe Gadzama, SAN, and Adeola Adedipe from their conduct before me want to appear before a judge that they can control, intimidate, frustrate and delay proceedings. This is the reason that they directed the defendant to apply for a transfer of this matter.
‘’To them, the matter should remain in court forever while they smile to the banks with huge professional fee. They are not comfortable with a judge that treats issues dispassionately with a dispatch without compromising fair trial. To them, the court should overlook the day-to-day trail as enjoined by the ACJA. To them, that is only when trail is fair.
‘’I urge your lordship most respectfully for national interest not to accede to the applicants application for transfer’’, he stated.
Maina and his son, Faisal were arraigned before the Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N2.1bn fraud.
While Maina is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency on a 12-count charge bordering on allegations of money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities using some banks in the country, his son is facing a three-count charge bordering on money laundering and other offences.