Fraud: Absence Of Defence Counsel Stall Arraignment Of Kano Businessman

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Absence of defence counsel has stalled the arraignment of a business mogul, Abdulsalam Abdulkarim-Zaura, before a Kano Federal High Court over alleged $1.3 million fraud.

It was gathered that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), filed a charge of criminal conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of $1.3 million dollars against Abdulkarim-Zaura.

When the case came up for arraignment, the prosecution counsel, Mrs Aisha Habib, told the court that she received a letter on behalf of the defence counsel.

Habib said “My Lord we received a letter this morning from the defence counsel, Mr Ibrahim Garba-Waru, notifying that he is at Supreme Court Abuja for pre-election matter.

“My Lord, this is a criminal matter, the case has suffered several adjournments. Section 33(a) of the constitution of  Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended stated that neither the plea of a defendant must be taken in the presence of his counsel”.

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Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa said the position of law according to section 36(2)(a)(b) of 1999 constitution as amended says a defendant must be given adequate time and facility to defend himself.

He said the case is a criminal matter and has suffered several adjournments. Nasir-Yunusa adjourned the matter until February 6, 2023, for arraignment.

Recall that on June 9, 2020, Abdulkarim-Zaura was discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court over a nine-count charge of $1.3 million fraud.

The Court of Appeal, Kano division in April 2022 ordered a fresh trial of the case which was earlier dismissed by a lower court.



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