Falana storms court over Maina’s Trial, claims he’s ready to testify

Maina is currently answering to 12 counts bordering on money laundering filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has expressed his readiness to testify in the ongoing trial of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.

Maina is currently answering to 12 counts bordering on money laundering filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Femi Falana (SAN)

The former pension boss had applied for the court to compel 10 persons, among whom included Falana to appear as witnesses in the matter.

HIs first defence witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, had while testifying last week, mentioned the names of the individuals and officials on whom the subpoenas have been issued.

Others summoned by the court are, M. Mustapha of Zenith Bank Abuja, Hassan Salihu of ICPC, G.T. Idriss also of ICPC, Mohammed Wakil, a retired commissioner of police and Kenneth Amabem.

The rest are Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Ibrahim Kaigama of NIPSS, Jos, and the Director of Compliance, CBN.

“You are commanded in the name of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend before this court at Court 6, on March 9, 10, and 11, 2021 at 9 O’ Clock in the forenoon and so from day to day till above case is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the first defendant,” a copy of one of the subpoenas read.

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The witness claimed Maina recovered about 222 sets of property valued at N1.63 trillion and handed them over to the anti-graft agency.

He claimed the commission and Magu mismanaged the assets by sharing some of them to cronies.

Meanwhile, out of all the subpoenaed witnesses, only Falana, appeared before the court on Thursday.

The senior lawyer entered the courtroom around 11:30 am while Maina’s second defence witness, DW-2, Mr Emoakemeh Charles, was giving his Evidence-In-Chief.

Midway into the testimony of the witness, trial Justice Abang told the parties that he was minded to adjourn the case to another day to enable him to attend to other matters.

At that juncture, a lawyer in Falana’s chambers, Marshal Abubakar, drew the attention of the counsel that represented Maina on Thursday, Adaji Abel, to the presence of his principal (Falana) in court.

When the court was notified, Falana, though not robed in his wig and gown, took the floor and addressed the court.

He said, “My lord, I learnt that I have been summoned. Even though I have not been served anything, but I am here today out of respect for the court.

“I will go and collect the summons from the bailiff myself.”

While commending him for showing such respect to the court, Justice Abang explained that all the summons were issued at the behest of Defendant.

“Unlike what was reported in some sections of the media, it was not this court that issued the summons on its own. It was the Defendant that applied for them, and this court, going by decision of the Court of Appeal, had no choice but to sign them.”

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Responding, Falana said he had no problem testifying in the matter.

“I quite understood my lord. It will be my pleasure to testify in this matter,” he added.

Among those that accompanied Falana to the court on Thursday included pro-democracy activist and convener of the #RevolutionNowProtest, Omoyele Sowore.

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