The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sought the withdrawal of its amended charge against the Kano Central senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdulsalam Abdulkareem Zaura, before a Federal High Court sitting in Kano.
Prior to yesterday’s retraction, EFCC at the last proceeding failed to produce prosecution witnesses to prove the criminal charges against the defendant, which necessitated another adjournment of the matter.
Zaura is being held by the anti-graft agency for alleged financial fraud in the sum of $1.2 million in a prolonged retrial involving a Kuwaiti national.
At the resumption of the matter before Justice Mohammad Nasir Yunusa, counsel to the EFCC, Aisha Habeeb told the court that the withdrawal of the application already served the defendant became necessary to forestall possible delay in the case.
However, Zaura through his counsel, Isyaka Dikko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) had filed a motion on notice, urging the court to strike out the amended charge for lacking in substance.
He informed the court of a pending motion on notice dated April 12, 2023, prayed the court for a stay of the trial pending the hearing and determination of application on a related matter before the Supreme Court.
His counsel, Dikko contended that it would amount to double exercise for the lower court to continue with the matter presently pending before the apex court.
The senior lawyer told Justice Yunusa that the application before the Supreme Court was challenging the Appeal court judgment that ordered the retrial after the defendant had already been discharged and acquitted.
In a counter argument, the prosecution counsel, Habeeb called for outright dismissal of the defendant application, insisting that the motion was orchestrated to delay the trial. He insisted that the matter has already been decided by the apex court.
The EFCC lawyer also cited references of previous matters, which disallowed criminal trials and allowed concurrent proceedings. After hearing their submissions, Justice Yunusa ordered parties to supply the court with necessary documents to back their claims and adjourned to July 23, 2023, for ruling on the application.