Maina’s ill-health: Correctional Service DCG seeks one week to brief court
Deputy Comptroller-General (DCG), Health and Social Welfare, Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), H.B. Kori, on Thursday, appealed to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to give him a week, to respond to the court order on the true health status of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Pension Reform boss.
Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Abubakar, made this known to Justice Okon Abang at the continuation of the trial of former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Maina.
Maina, who dressed in a light green colour caftan, was wheeled to the court by officers of the NCS for the continuation of his trial on the one hand and for the court to take his bail application on the other hand.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that following Maina’s absence in court on Tuesday on ill-health reason, Justice Abang had ordered the DCG, who is a medical doctor, to conduct a thorough examination on Maina, to ascertain his health status and report to the court.
NAN also reports that on Thursday, the court had earlier reserved ruling on the former pension boss’ bail application, citing heavy workload on the court as the reason.
At the resumed trial, the prosecution counsel, Abubakar informed the court that the enroll order of the court was forwarded to the DCG of NCS in charge of Medical and Welfare, Mr Kori, on Nov.
Abubakar said Kori, in a letter dated Nov. 6 and served on the prosecution yesterday, requested for one week to comply with the order of the court, so as to carry out a comprehensive medical examination on Maina to ascertain his state of health and to know if he (Maina) is medically fit to stand his trial.
Abubakar told the court that Kori’s appeal was reasonable and urged the court to grant the request and to adjourn the case till Nov. 21 for the continuation of trial.
Counsel to Maina, Francis Oronsaye, did not oppose the prosecution counsel’s adjournment application.
Also, Counsel to Faisal, 2nd defendant in the case, Adeola Adedipe, did not raise any objection to the application.
Justice Abang, who adjourned the matter until Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 for the continuation of trial, however, expressed his displeasure to journalists covering the proceedings.
The judge accused journalists of not reflecting the kind gestures of the court in their reports on Maina’s case.
“Some of them serve their personal interest, rather than national interest,” he said.
He said when the court allowed Maina to sit down during trial and the day he was allowed to take his drugs in the open court, the press refused to mention all these kind gestures of the court in their report.
“Lead counsel to Maina, Mr Ahmed Raji, SAN, walked out on the court during the proceedings of October 30, the press did not report that.
“Even when Joe Kyari-Gadzama, SAN threatened the court, while arguing for adjournment, the press didn’t mention any of these,” he said.
Abang said that the journalists, however, misinformed the public that he ordered Maina not to look directly at him in court.
“I did not order him to stop looking at me. I only directed my registrar to advise the defendant not to look at the court consistently.
“On account of all these, I come to the conclusion that the press is unfair to the court,” he said.
The judge said when he saw Maina being brought in wheelchair into the court, he was touched.
“I noticed that the accused was in court in a wheelchair. But I didn’t order him to come on a wheelchair. Am deeply touched when I saw him this morning,” he said.
Justice Abang urged the journalists to allow national interest to guide their work.
Maina is being charged with 12 counts bordering on “money laundering, operating fictitious bank accounts and fraud.”
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