By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Chairman of defunct Police Pension Reform Task Force, Dr Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday, attended his trial at the Federal High Court Abuja, on a wheelchair.
Maina is being prosecuted by the anti-graft agency on a 12 -count charge over allegations of money laundering, operation of fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities using some banks in the country.
The court had on the last adjourned date, ordered the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Correctional Service (Prisons) in charge of Medical and Social Welfare to conduct a thorough examination of Maina to ascertain his health status.
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang ordered the Deputy Comptroller General to report his findings on November 7.
However, at Thursday’s proceeding, Maina was brought into the courtroom on a wheelchair.
The court adjourned till yesterday, for ruling on Maina’s bail application but the court said it was not ready due to heavy work load, but assured to deliver it since it was within time.
However, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar informed the court that the 1st defendant (Maina) was in court on a wheelchair.
Though Abubakar said he was ready to proceed with the trial, however he drew attention of the court to a letter from the Nigerian Correctional Service.
“My Lord, we received a letter dated November 6, from the Nigerian Correctional Service, Wednesday evening, but was served on us this morning, in response to our own letter forwarding an enrolled order of the court.
“The letter of the Correctional Service was signed by Deputy Comptroller General in charge of Medical and Social Welfare, H.B Kori.
By the letter, the DCG pleaded the court for one week to comply with the order because he received the enroll order by 4:35pm on Wednesday, November 6.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel told the Court that “My Lord, I think the appeal by the DCG is reasonable and I urge the court to accede to the request”.
Therefore, Abubakar applies for an adjournment to enable the prosecution through the Nigerian Correctional Service, ascertain the medical fitness of the 1st defendant.
Maina’s counsel, Francis Orosanya and Adeola Adedipe representing the 2nd defendant (Common Input Property and Investment Ltd), a company linked to Maina did not oppose the application for an adjournment.
However, before adjourning the trial to November 21 and 22, Justice Abang accused some journalists of not reflecting the “kind gestures of the court” in their reports, adding that, “Some serve their personal interest, rather than national interest.
Abang said the court had allowed Maina to sit down during trial and the day he was allowed to take his drugs in the open court, the press did not mention all these kind gestures of the court in their report.
“Lead counsel to the 1st defendant, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN) walked out on the court during the proceedings of October 30, the press did not report that, even when Joe Kyari-Gadzama (SAN) threatened the court, while arguing for adjournment, the press didn’t mention any of these”, he said but rather informed the public that he warned Maina not to look directly at him in court.
“The press is bias. On account of all these, I come to the conclusion that the press is unfair to the court”, he said.