Justice Dairus Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court sitting in Kaduna today threatened to revoke the bail granted to Muhammed Sodangi, an accused person standing trial on 13 counts of personation and stealing to the tune of N66million, over the continued absence of his counsel, Jafar Abbas in court.
Sodangi was arraigned in May 2014 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for allegedly defrauding the Kaduna State government of N66million by abusing his position as pension consultant to the state government, to smuggle his name into the pension payroll.
The EFCC has so far presented four witnesses ( two from banks and two officials of the state government) and was set to present its last two witnesses today but for the absence of the defence counsel.
When the matter was called, prosecution counsel Sylvanus Tahir informed the court that he had his witnesses in court and was ready to continue with the hearing.
However, the accused who was already in the dock, had no legal representation. On enquiry, Sodangi told the court that his lawyer sent him a text message, informing him of the session today, on Friday, November 27, 2015. “My lord, I tried calling him but I could not get through. I do not know his whereabouts or why he is not here,” he stated.
The presiding judge noted that the accused person’s response confirmed that his counsel was aware of the date for the hearing but deliberately stayed away. He reminded the accused that criminal trials are supposed to be conducted expeditiously.
“If you were in prison am sure your relations will do the needful to get your lawyer to come.” Justice Khobo urged the accused to contact his counsel to ensure the trial continues or risk the revocation of the bail earlier granted him by the court.
The Judge then adjourned the matter to January 19, 2016.