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Judge’s absence stalls Bala Mohammed arraignment

The arraignment of the governor-elect of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed has been stalled following the absence of the presiding judge. Bala Mohammed, who was elected…

The arraignment of the governor-elect of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed has been stalled following the absence of the presiding judge.

Bala Mohammed, who was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was scheduled for arraignment on Monday before an FCT High Court in Maitama on a fresh 6-counts charge bordering on false declaration of assets and giving false information to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, while Mohammed and his counsels were in court yesterday together with the counsel for the EFCC, the court did not sit.

A court official told our reporter that the presiding judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu was on election petition duty in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The official said a new date was however not fixed for the arraignment so as to avoid what happened today where parties would come to court and the judge would not be available to sit.

Outside the court, counsel for the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, while speaking with journalists, denied that the arraignment was a political witch-hunt against the governor-elect, saying the anti-corruption agency does not play politics.

On the arraignment, he said “It is a matter that was ongoing before another judge who has now been elevated to the Court of Appeal. The expectation was that the matter would soon be reassigned to another judge.

“Just a week ago, the registry of this court sent us a notice that today (Monday) has been fixed for the re-arraignment of the defendant. It was not at the instance of the court. You know when a case is transferred to another court, it starts de novo (afresh).”

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