Abdulrasheed Maina

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected the application by a lawyer, Mr Ademola Adedipe, for permission to withdraw from the N2bn money laundering case involving a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abulrasheed Maina.

Adedipe was appearing for the second defendant in the case, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, a firm said to be owned by Maina.

Justice Okon Abang had in a ruling declared that Maina had jumped bail following his repeated absence from trial since September.

On Monday, the judge jailed Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, for his inability to produce the defendant.

The judge also criticised Maina’s legal team represented on Monday by Francis Oronsaye for continuing to appear for and receive a briefing from the fleeing defendant from his hiding place.

He said the legal team from the law firm of Joe Kyari-Gadzama (SAN) was only pretending not to know Maina’s whereabouts.

Following an order issued by the court on November 18, Maina’s trial proceeded on Wednesday in his absence.

Neither he nor his firm, the second defendant, was represented by any lawyer at the proceedings.

The judge said the development showed that the defence lawyers had abandoned proceedings without formally withdrawing from the case.

But Adedipe emerged on Wednesday informing the court that he had filed an application seeking the court’s permission to withdraw from the case.

Adedipe, who apologised for his absence from the previous proceedings, said he was withdrawing from the case because his brief had not been perfected by the second defendant.

But the judge said in his ruling that Adedipe’s application could not be granted because the said application had yet to arrive in the court’s file.

The case was adjourned till December 4 for the continuation of the trial.

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