The inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to use the screening shield for its second witness in the ongoing trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Pension Reform Chair, on Tuesday, stalled the trial.
The EFCC Counsel, Halima Shehu, who applied that the second prosecution witness (PW2) be screened as soon as Justice Okon Abang began proceeding on the matter, said it was necessary for the interest of fair hearing.
Shehu based her application on Section 232(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the development occurred shortly after the first prosecution witness, Mairo Abdullahi Bashir, completed her evidence.
However, Justice Abang said it would be wrong to ask learner counsel and other people in the courtroom to go out in order to set up the screening shield.
“That means you are calling for an adjournment because I cannot ask the learned counsel to leave the court,” he said.
The EFCC lawyer, therefore, applied for an adjournment to enable the anti-graft agency to prepare for trial continuation.
Counsel to Maina, Mohammed Monguno, did not oppose the application, likewise, Adeola Adedipe who is the counsel to the 2nd defendant (Maina’s company).
Justice Abang, therefore, adjourned the matter till Dec. 11 to allow the second prosecution to be screened.
“Prosecution counsel shall be in court early to make adequate preparation for the screen and the matter shall be taken at 12 noon,” he said.
Justice Abang also adjourned the trial of Faisal Maina, son of Abdulrasheed Maina, to the same day for continuation.
The judge said the adjournment was at the instance of the defence team.
“The day is far spent and since we are also coming tomorrow, I humbly ask Your Lordship to adjourn till tomorrow,” Monguno had told the court.
NAN recalls that the EFCC had on Oct. 25, charged Maina and his son, Faisal, before the court alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.
While Maina was charged on a 12-count charge, Faisal was charged on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.
Both the father and the son pleaded not guilty to all the charges.