The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, granted the request of a lawyer, Mr Ademola Adedipe, to withdraw from the N2 billion money laundering case involving Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling, said the application succeeded in accordance with Section 349(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
It was reported that Adedipe before now, had been appearing for the second defendant in the case, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, a firm said to be owned by Maina.
Maina (1st defendant) was arraigned before Justice Abang, on Oct. 25, 2019, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his firm.
Although he is facing 12-counts bordering on money laundering, he had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Adedipe had, on Nov. 25, hinged his decision to quit the case on the grounds that his brief had not been perfected by his client.
But Justice Abang had turned down the application by the lawyer to quit the case.
The judge declined to grant the lawyer’s plea on the premise that the application was not in the court file.
But acknowledging the notice of disengagement with charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/258/2019 dated and filed on Nov 25, Justice Abang issued an order discharging the lawyer from the case.
“Counsel having filed an application in line with Section 349(7) of ACJA 2015 to withdraw his legal representation for the 2nd defendant, the order is hereby granted,” he ruled.
However, the continuation of Maina’s trial proceeded in his absence with the ninth prosecution witness, Rouqquaya Ibrahim, an EFCC investigator, testifying against the ex-pension reformed boss.
Justice Abang adjourned the matter until Dec. 4 for continuation of trial in absentia.