The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday closed its case after its ninth prosecution witness concluded her testimony in the N2bn money laundering trial of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Maina told the court that he had no case to answer in the allegations levied against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Maina, who told Justice Okon Abang shortly after the EFCC, through its counsel, Farouk Abdullah, closed its case, said he would be filing a no-case submission.
Rouqayya Ibrahim, an EFCC investigator, who started testifying as the ninth prosecution witnesses on November 29, 2020, closed her evidence after she was cross-examined by Maina’s lawyer, Anayo Adibe, on Wednesday.
Maina’s co-defendant, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, a firm linked to him, was not represented by any lawyer as was the case since trial resumed on September 29, 2020.
Justice Okon Abang ruled that the second defendant and its lawyer had abandoned proceedings.
He, therefore, made an order discharging the witness from the witness box order foreclosing the company’s right to cross-examine the ninth prosecution witness.
Shortly thereafter, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Faruk Abdullah, informed the judge of the prosecution’s decision to close its case.
Adibe, however, noted that there was no provision in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 stipulating the procedure for the filing of the no-case submission.
Justice Abang thereby ordered the defence lawyer to address the court on his client’s no-case submission on Thursday.
He ruled, “The prosecution has closed its case today. It is for the defence to open its case. The court had earlier ruled that the case would proceed in his absence. But he is here today. The defendant is entitled to be heard.
“The defendant has elected to present a no-case submission. It is within his legal right to do so, and the court cannot question it.
“The defendant’s counsel has said there is no provision for the filing of no-case submission in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“Therefore it is hereby ordered that parties shall address the court orally on the defendant’s no-case submission.”