The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has finally arraigned Abdulsalam Saleh Abdulkarim before Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court Kano.
He is the candidate representing the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kano Central Senatorial District in the general elections.
Abdulkarem is alleged to have defrauded a Kuwaiti Citizen of the sum of $1,320,000 (One Million Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars) under the pretext that he is in the business of properties in Dubai, Kuwait and other Arab countries.
His re-arraignment earlier billed for October 14 and 31, and November 10, could not hold following his absence in court.
His lawyer had argued 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.
On 30th oct 2022, the EFCC counsel, Barr. Aisha Habib told Justice Mohammad Sanusi Yunusa that the defendant’s whereabouts was unknown and the Commission declared him wanted thereafter.
Again, on 30th January 2023, the arraignment could not hold as scheduled following the absence of his counsel, Ibrahim Waru.
Counsel to EFCC, drew the attention of the Judge, Justice Mohammad Nasir Yunusa, to the absence of the defence counsel.
She said 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.
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.
Meanwhile, on 6th feb 2023, when the matter came up for arraignment, the defense counsel Ahmed Raji, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), sought for adjournment of the case to enable him to study for the process.
He informed the court of the change of defence counsel and disclosed that he took over the case only recently while appealing for ample opportunity to study the new brief in the interest of justice.
During today’s sitting, Abdulkarem had pleaded not guilty to the charges read to him.
One of the charges read “That you, Abdulkarim Saleh Abdulssalam, sometime in August 2014, at Kano within the Kano Judicial Division of the High Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000.00) from Dr. Jamman Al- Azmi when you represented that you have the capacity to partner with him for a joint venture business, which representation you knew to be false, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1[1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act”.
In view of his plea, counsel for the prosecution Aisha Tahar Habib asked for a trial date.
The counsel representing the defendant, Ishaq Mudi Dikko, SAN, applied for bail on behalf of his client.
After a brief argument between the parties, Justice Yunusa ruled that the defendant continue with the bail terms earlier granted to him by the court.
The matter has been adjourned till May 2, 2023 for the commencement of retrial.
The defendant’s trial is starting afresh after the Court of Appeal nullified his discharge and acquittal on fraud charges by Justice A. L Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Kano.