Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and Ibrahim Magu, a former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have failed to appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja in respect of the case involving Abdulrasheed Maina, a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
Also not present at the court on Wednesday was Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The trio was expected to appear in court after Justice Okon Abang, the trial judge, issued a subpoena dated 8 March, compelling them alongside seven others to be present at the trial on March 9, 10 and 11 to testify in Maina’s defence.
Also summoned are re Femi Falana (SAN), M. Mustapha, Hassan Salihu, Mohammed Wakil, G.T Idris, Kenneth Amabem, Ibrahim Kaigama, and the Director of Compliance, Central Bank of Nigeria.
However, at the resumption of the trial on Wednesday, none of the summoned individuals were present in court. Instead, Sani Katu, Maina’s counsel, moved to call another witness after the court refused his request to withdraw from the case as the defendant’s lawyer.
Judge Abang subsequently blasted Maina for failing to assemble his witnesses on time.
He said: “Sometime on December 21, 2020, the first defendant lead counsel, then Mr A. Adibe, informed the court that they intend to call 24 witnesses and that the defendant be given adequate time to assemble these witnesses.
“The court then vacated December 22 and adjourned this matter from December 21 to January 26. More than one month for the defendant to assemble his witnesses and open his defence.
“For upwards of 76 days from December 21, 2020, the first defendant did not apply for a subpoena to compel witnesses to come to court to testify on his behalf.
“However, on Monday, March 8, 2021, in chambers, between 12;35 and 12;40 pm, the court registrar forwarded to the court in chambers, about 10 subpoenas filed by the first defendant not filed by the court, compelling about 10 persons to come to court to testify on his behalf today.
“I merely signed a subpoena based on the court of appeal decision in the case of Metuh vs FRN that compelled the court to sign a subpoena seeking to compel Colonel Dasuki to come to court and testify on behalf of Metuh.
“But ordinarily, I could not have on my own, signed a subpoena to compel an individual a day before the matter is fixed for hearing to come to court and testify for the first defendant because he failed to take advantage of the opportunity offered him to be heard.
“The first defendant cannot on March 8 seek to compel the appearance of witnesses to come to court on the 9th.”
Maina is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.