The Kano central senatorial candidate on AllProgressives Congress (APC) platform, Alh. Abdulsalam Abdulkarim Zaura again appeared before the Federal high court sitting in Kano on Monday to defend the alleged $1.3 million fraud.
It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Zaura for alleged US$1.3 million fraud following the judgment of court of appeal that ordered a fresh trial after the defendant was discharged and acquitted three years ago.
On Monday, when the matter came up for arraignment, the defense counsel Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), sought for adjournment of the case to enable him to study for the process.
He informed the court of the change of defence counsel and disclosed that he took over the case only recently while appealing for ample opportunity to study the new brief in the interest of justice.
The defence counsel, the lawyer to EFCC l, Aisha Habib, being dissatisfied with the request of the new defense counsel, objected to the oral application for adjournment and argued the proposal was deliberately intended to needlessly prolong the case.
She stated that the EFCC was not objected to the change of defense counsel. She, however argued that the defendant is allowed to take a plea on arraignment with or without the presence of defense counsel, cited provisions of section 215 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended to buttress her point.
Her view on the matter was that “Looking at the process and circumstances sounding the trial, the case has been prolonged owing to one excuse or the other of the defense counsel. I want to apply for a short stand out of the matter to enable new counsel to go through the processes after which the arraignment can commence.” EFCC lawyer argued.
The presiding Judge, Justice Mohammad Nasir Yunusa, asked to bother parties to prove whether or not the provisions of order 29 rule 1 of professional conduct for legal practice provide ample period for transition between old and new lawyers in a particular matter.
Justice Yunusa said that the rule, which allows up to 30 days within which the new and old lawyers must resolve processes and serve notice of change in guard to the court, however overruled the objection of EFCC.
The court, therefore, adjourned the matter to 1st March 2023 for arraignment.