Trial of Bauchi governor-elect stalled due to absence of presiding judge

Trial of Bauchi governor-elect stalled due to absence of presiding judge

- The trial of the Bauchi state governor-elect, Bala Mohammed, has been stalled due to the absence of the presiding judge

- A new date has not yet been fixed for the trial, so as to avoid a similar occurrence

- The EFCC’s counsel debunked insinuations that the arraignment was a political witch-hunt against Mohammed

The absence of the presiding judge has stalled the arraignment of the governor-elect of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The governor-elect was scheduled for arraignment before an FCT High Court in Maitama on Monday, April 29 on charges bordering on false declaration of assets and giving false information to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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Legit.ng gathers that the court, however, did not sit, even though the accused was present with his counsels.

A court official reportedly disclosed that the presiding judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, was on election petition duty in Abeokuta, Ogun state.

However, in order to avoid what happened on Monday where parties were present in court and the judge was not available to sit, the official said no new date was fixed for the arraignment.

Speaking to newsmen outside the court, the EFCC counsel, Wahab Shittu, debunked insinuations that the arraignment was a political witch-hunt against Mohammed, urging people not to see the matter as an attempt by the anti-agency to intimidate anyone.

He said: “EFCC is an anti-corruption agency, it does not play politics. It exists to serve the public.”

On the arraignment, he said: “It is a matter that was ongoing before another judge who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal. The expectation was that the matter would soon be reassigned to another judge.

“Just a week ago, the registry of this court sent us a notice that today has been fixed for the re-arraignment of the defendant. It was not at the instance of the court.

“You know when a case is transferred to another court, it starts de novo (afresh).”

He added: “Let us focus on the matter before the court. EFCC exists to serve everybody.”

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Recall that Legit.ng previously reported that the EFCC filed fresh charges against the governor-elect of Bauchi state, Bala Mohammed.

The commission, in the fresh six-count charges, accused Mohammed of accepting gratification in form of a house located at on No 2599 & 2600 Cadastral Zone, AO4 Asokoro District, Abuja, from Aso Savings & Loans Plc in 2014.

The EFCC's counsel, Wahab Shittu, said that the gratification was accepted as reward by Mohammed “for performing your official duties".

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Source: Legit

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