AA Zaura emerges victorious in court as EFCC’s $1.2 million fraud case fails
Story from Saleh INUWA, Kano
A Federal High Court in Kano State has ruled in favour of Alhaji Abdussalam Abdulkarim Zaura, popularly known as AA Zaura, in a case of alleged $1.2 million fraud brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC sought the prosecution of Zaura, but the presiding judge, Justice Muhammad Nasir Yunusa, delivered a judgment in which he affirmed Zaura’s right to appeal.
Justice Yunusa explained that prosecuting Zaura while his appeal was pending would violate his fundamental rights. He emphasized that the appeal process must be exhausted, and the Supreme Court should decide before proceeding with any criminal case.
In his final submission, Justice Yunusa stated that his court lacked jurisdiction to continue with the case, as an appeal to that effect was pending before the Supreme Court.
AA Zaura, who is currently held by the EFCC for alleged financial fraud amounting to $1.2 million, is involved in a protracted retrial that includes a Kuwaiti national.
Zaura’s counsel, Isyaka M. Dikko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed a motion seeking the court’s consent to strike out the amended charge due to its lack of substance.
Zaura informed the court about the pending motion dated April 12, 2023, and requested a stay of proceedings until the Supreme Court hears and determines the related matter.
Dikko SAN argued that it would be redundant for the lower court to continue with the case while it is pending before the apex court.
The defense lawyer informed Justice Yunusa that the application before the Supreme Court challenges the Appeal Court’s decision to order a retrial after the defendant had already been discharged and acquitted.
In response, the prosecution counsel, Barrister Habeeb, called for the outright dismissal of the defendant’s application, claiming that it was a tactic to delay the trial.
Barrister Habeeb countered the defendant’s argument regarding the pending application before the Supreme Court, asserting that the matter had already been decided by the apex court.
The EFCC lawyer cited previous cases where criminal trials were disallowed and concurrent proceedings were permitted.
In a swift response, Zaura’s lawyer, Dikko SAN, refuted the prosecution’s objection, reaffirming that the application before the Supreme Court was still pending and awaiting a decision.
Despite the EFCC’s insistence that the Supreme Court had already dismissed Zaura’s application, the prosecution failed to provide the court with evidence when asked to do so.