The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday declared that the whereabouts of the Kano State senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdulkareem AbdulSalam Zaura is unknown.
Zaura’s trial over an alleged financial scam of about US$1.3million before the Federal high court, sitting in Kano failed to commence against following the conspicuous absence of the defendant.
The arraignment of the defendant was earlier stalled on the 14th of October, 2022 when he (Zaura) refused to appear at the court subsequently upon the adjourned till 31st October, 2022.
When the trial came up on Monday, counsel to EFCC Barr. Aisha Habib told Justice Mohammad Sanusi Yunusa that the defendant’s whereabouts are unknown to the commission.
Aisha faulted the absence of Zaura who she insisted must be docked before the court for arraignment and stressed the defendant has utterly disregarded the sanctity of the court.
In a counterargument, counsel to the defendant, I.G Waru maintained that his client should not necessarily appear before the court on arraignment since there was a pending application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the trial.
Buttering his argument, Waru cited sector 266 (B) of the Administration of Criminal Justice ACJ, 2015, which emphasized that a defendant shall appear before the court for trial but where there is an interlocutory application, he is necessary to appear.
The EFCC lawyer who insisted that Zaura must be docked for arraignment told the court that trial can only begin with an arraignment.
Although, Justice Mohammad maintained that fresh application could only surface when the criminal trial is established however asked the defense counsel to furnish the court with reasons why Zaura will not appear in dock for arraignment.
The case was adjourned to 10th November 2022 for the counsels to file written addresses on whether or not the defendant must appear before the court for arraignment.