The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday fixed November 8 to deliver judgment in the N2b corruption charges filed against the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina. This is coming in 24 hours after his son, Faisal, was sentenced to 14 years by the same court for similar corruption charges The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the verdict would be handed down on the date subject to availability of judicial time” after the prosecution counsel adopted his final written address. Prosecution counsel, Farouk Abdullahi, while adopting his final address urged the court to convict and jail Maina in all the count of charge levelled against him by the federal government. Justice Abang had before the final adoption of address overruled an oral application by Maina’s counsel, Anayo Adibe for an adjournment to enable him file a written address out of time.
In a bench ruling, the Judge recalled that on July 16, he ordered parties to file and serve final written addresses before the matter was then adjourned to October 4, for adoption of final addresses. Abang further held that the order of July 16 remained binding on parties since it was not appealed against and there was “nothing to show before the court that the defendant was aggrieved with the order”.
The court held that the defendant had “vehemently disobeyed a court order” and instead of the defendants to take advantage to be heard by filing written addresses, they decided to file an application for bail during vacation. During the vacation period, the defendants filed an application on August 6, and I think they are persons that have denied themselves opportunity to be heard and not the court. “Defendants cannot dictate to the court when to file written addresses and no application for enlargement of time within which to file written address was made.