Nigeria: $1.3m Fraud – EFCC Declares Kano APC Senatorial Candidate Missing Before Court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday told a Kano Federal High Court that the Kano Central Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC) Abdulsalam Abdulkarim-Zaura, who is standing trial for an alleged $1.3 million fraud is nowhere to be found.

The EFCC Prosecution counsel, Aisha Habib, told the court that the defendant was nowhere to be found for arraignment.

“This is a criminal case and the defendant must be in court to answer his plea even if he is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to arraign him.

“This is a total disrespect; the defendant has to be in court before he can file an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to arraign him,” Habib said.

Counsel to the defendant, Ibrahim Garba Waru, told the court that at this critical stage of the proceedings the presence of the defendant was not mandatory.

“Section 266(b) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law(ACJL) 2015 says in a criminal trial the presence of the defendant is necessary but where there is an exception of interlocutory application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to arraign him cannot take place,” he added.

He said the defendant was not in court because he was not physically fit.

The presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Nasir-Yunusa, said in a criminal case the defendant must be in court.

“This is a criminal case Where is the defendant,” he added.

He ordered both parties to file a written address on why or not the defendant to appear before the court and adjourned the matter till November 10.

The three panel of Justices of the appellate presided by Justice Abdullahi Bayero had struck out the judgment of Justice Lewis Allagoa that discharged Zaura of the alleged financial theft in June 2020.

On June 9, 2020 the defendant was discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court over a nine-count charge of $1.3 million fraud.

The Kano Court of Appeal division in April, 2022, had ordered a fresh retrial of the case earlier dismissed and acquitted by a Kano Federal high court which ruled in favor of the defendant.

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