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$1.3m case: Kano APC senatorial candidate’s arraignment stalled

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Kano Central senatorial candidate, Abdulsalam Abdulkarim Zaura, popularly known as AA Zaura, on Monday appeared before a Federal High Court…

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Kano Central senatorial candidate, Abdulsalam Abdulkarim Zaura, popularly known as AA Zaura, on Monday appeared before a Federal High Court in Kano to take his plea in a $1.3 million fraud charge levelled against him.

Zaura is being accused of defrauding a Kuwaiti of $1.3m was billed for arraignment after the Court of Appeal quashed an earlier discharge and acquittal judgment of the court and ordered his retrial.

Daily Trust reports that his re-arraignment earlier billed for October 14 and 31, and November 10, could not go ahead following his absence in court, with his lawyer arguing that his client did not have to appear before the court because of an appeal before the Supreme Court against the appellate court’s judgment.

This led the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to declare it was on the hunt to arrest the politician.

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However, the arraignment could not go ahead as scheduled following the absence of his counsel, Ibrahim Waru.

Upon the call of the case, counsel to EFCC, Aisha Habib, drew the attention of the Judge, Justice Mohammad Nasir Yunusa, to the absence of the defence counsel and that she was in receipt of a letter from the counsel notifying her of a pre-election trial he was attending at the Supreme Court, Abuja.

She, however, pleaded with the court to proceed with the arraignment citing Section 33 Sub-Section (a) of the constitution to argue that the law allowed a defendant to take his plea even in the absence of the counsel.

She also urged the court to take judicial notice of the several adjournments the case had suffered due to the absence of the defendants during previous hearing dates.

Ruling on the application, Justice Yunusa adjourned to February 6 to allow the defendant enough time and facilities to defend himself as enshrined in Section 36 (2) A and B of the constitution.