By Yemi Oyeyemi Abuja.
The trial of the chairman of the defunct Pension Reforms Task Force, PRTF, Abdulrasheed Maina in an alleged N2b fraud was Tuesday stalled at the Federal High Court in Abuja following his sudden ill-health and confinement to bed rest by a medical expert.
Maina is being prosecuted by the federal government on a 12-count charge bothering on alleged N2B pension fund fraud, money laundering, operating fictitious bank accounts and other fraudulent activities.
At the resumed trial, an officer of the Nigeria Prison Service stormed the court and sought audience with the court with a medical report issued by a doctor with the Correctional Service, Idowu Ajayi.
The letter however sparked a controversy when Justice Okon Abang upon acknowledging it, read it, and faulted its mode.
Abang agreed that human beings can fall sick but got angry that the medical doctor who authored ithe letter failed to give specific period the accused person will be confined to bed rest.
Apparently furious, the Judge wondered why a medical expert will write such a letter without indicating the specific time he will be on bed rest adding that the action of the doctor is a ploy to stop the court from the trial of the accused person.
He accused the doctor of not helping the court in the shoddy manner the letter was written and its tone that suggested that Maina will not be able to stand trial for an undisclosed period.
In a reaction, counsel to the Economic and Financial Cries Commission, EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar prayed for an order of court compelling the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigeria Prison Service, being a medical doctor, to carry out comprehensive examination on the health status of Maina.
The counsel also prayed the court for an order that the prison chief must make his report available to the court on the adjourned date to actually ascertain the health issues.
Maina’s counsel, Francis Oronsaye, however pleaded with the court to adjourn the trial for one week to enable his client recover fully
In his ruling, Abang said that the request for one week adjournment did not go down well with the court and held that a medical report cannot act as an order to stay trial in a criminal matter.
He noted that the doctor who claimed to have examined the defendant did not include a time the date of recovery of the defendant.
Justice Abang consequently ordered the Deputy Comptroller of the Nigeria Prison in charge of medicals and welfare to examine Maina and report back to the court on Thursday, November 7, the date slated for continuation of trial.