The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has accused former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory , Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of making efforts to delay his trial over allegations of abuse of office and conspiracy preferred against him. The accusation came on the heels of the preliminary objection raised by El-Rufai against his trial at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. The former minister brought a motion of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the corruption charges against him.
At the court session presided over by Justice Adamu Bello, El-Rufai counsel, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, filed the motion of preliminary objection and informed the court that he had served the EFCC counsel in the court. He prayed the court to permit him move the motion. Counsel to the second accused person, Nkereuwen Akpan aligned with Akeredolu’s motion, adding that the law was explicit on the lack of jurisdiction of the court to try his client.
In the same vein, counsel to third accused person, Kanu Agabi , SAN, also filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. He however apologized for the delay in serving the motion on the prosecution counsel.
In his response, EFCC counsel, Adelodun Adebayo SAN, said all the processes were served on him early in the day in court and needed time to go through the motions and respond appropriately. He frowned at the conduct of the defence counsel insisting that they were all scheming to prolong and frustrate the trial. He disclosed that the EFCC, in its readiness to try all the accused persons, brought four witnesses to the court and that they were all ready to testify.
Justice Adamu Bello, after listening to all the counsel said the court could not go on with the trial because of the motions filed. He consequently adjourned the case to July 26th, 2010 for adoption of addresses for and against the 1st and 3rd defendants.
El-Rufai and two others are standing trial on an eight count charge preferred against them by the EFCC. The charges border on conspiracy and abuse of office.
Part of the charges read that Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai did use his position as a Minister to gratify and confer corrupt and unfair advantage on his relation to wit his wives Hadiza and Asia Ahmed El-Rufai and by reallocating to them parts of the parcel of land known as plot No 1201, Asokoro District (A4) Abuja, originally allocated in the Federal Capital Territory Master Plan to Power Holding company of Nigeria Plc for the construction of transmitting/ injection sub-stations.