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Maina petitions Court to vacate trial in absentia order

The former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina,  has requested the Federal High Court division in Abuja to vacate an order made to continue his money laundering trial in absentia.

Justice Okon Abang, had on November 18, 2020, given the order that Maina’s trial should continue in his absence after he jumped bail and refused to attend the trial.

The former PRTT chairman was later arrested in Niger Republic and extradited to Nigeria to continue his trial.

The court also made an order remanding the defendant in prison pending the conclusion of the trial.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel to Maina, Anayo Adibe, moved an application requesting the court to set aside both orders made on November 18 and December 4, 2020, respectively.

Adibe said the order of the court regarding trial in absentia is “spent” and ought to have been set aside considering the fact that the defendant has been brought back to face trial.

However, Mohammed Abubakar, prosecution counsel, objected to the application.

Abubakar submitted that setting aside the trial in absentia order is tantamount to setting aside all the proceeding conducted by this court in the absence of the first defendant”.

He asked the court to dismiss Maina’s application.

The judge however, fixed Thursday, February 25, to rule on this application and another application seeking to release Maina on bail.