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Absence of APC senatorial candidate in court stalls proceedings in fraud trial

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From Desmond Mgboh, Kano

Criminal proceeding against the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdulkareem Abdulsalam Zaura, was stalled on Monday in Kano following his absence in court.

Zaura, a well-known politician in the state, is accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of defrauding a Kuwaiti businessman of the sum of $1.320 million.

His re-arraignment followed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Kano, which ordered a fresh trial of his case after he was discharged by a lower court

When the case came up before the Federal High Court presided by Justice Mohammed Sanusi Yunusa, his counsel, Barrister I G Wuru offered an explanation on why he was absent in court, saying he was unfit to appear in person.

He also held that it was not mandatory for him to appear in person, citing Section 266 (B) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice (2015) which he said holds that where there is an interlocutory application, it is not mandatory for an accused to be in court.

Earlier, lawyers to the EFCC led by Barrister Aisha A Habib alerted the court that the accused person was nowhere to be found while insisting that he must be docked in court. She pointed out that the absence of the accused person in court for the second time was disrespectful to the court.

In his ruling on the subject, Justice Yunusa ordered both counsels to file their written addresses on why or not the accused person must appear before the court.

He adjourned the case to November 10, 2022.

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