$1.32m Fraud: Court Orders Retrial of Kano Guber Aspirant
By Kaosara Olayemi Oladimeji
A Court of Appeal declared on Wednesday that Abdulsalam Sale Abdulkarim Zaura (AA Zaura), a Kano State gubernatorial aspirant, has a case to answer over an alleged $1.32 million fraud.
In an unanimous decision delivered by Justice Abdullahi M. Bayero, the appellate court overturned a judgment of the Federal High Court Kano that discharged and acquitted Mr Zaura.
In 2020, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Mr Zaura and another individual, Michael Edosa, with defrauding an Iranian national, Sheikh Jamman Al-Azmi, of $1.32 million with the intention of forming a joint venture.
Justice Allagoa of the Federal High Court found the accused not guilty and freed him on all charges in June of 2020.
Mr Musa Isah, the prosecution’s lawyer, had taken the matter to the court of appeals, hoping to overturn the lower court’s verdict.
In addition, Justice Bayero ruled that the defendant be retried before a court other than Justice Allagoa.
The main point of contention in the appeal was that the accused person was not present in court when the judgment was handed down, despite the fact that several Supreme Court decisions have held that an accused person must be present in court throughout his trial, including when the judgment is handed down.
In this case, the Court of Appeal determined that the appeal was meritorious and upheld it.
Justice Bayero said, “Having determined the issue in favor of the appellant, the appeal naturally succeeds. The judgment of the lower court in suit number FHCK/CR2018/ FRN against Abdulsalam Sale Abdulkarim delivered on June 9th, 2020 is hereby set aside.”