Abuja – Former Governor of Jigawa state, Saminu Turaki, has challenged the directive of the Chief Judge of the Federal High, which transferred his trial back to Abuja Division of the court.
Turaki was arraigned alongside three companies, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Apel Construction Ltd and WideHeart Construction Ltd on a 32-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering while in office amounting to N36billion.
But he was granted bail to the tune of N500 million by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja, on July 18, 2017, but with two sureties in the like sum who must have N250m bail bond each.
Among other bail condition, the court directed that Turaki must deposit his travel documents with the court’s registry and must report to the headquarters of the EFCC every first working day of every month.
Being a vacation judge as at the time Turaki was arraigned, Justice Dimgba had to order transfer of the trial to the Federal High Court Dutse, which hitherto had fixed September 19, 2017 for trial of the former governor.
At a resumed sitting on Friday, the prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe said the EFCC got a hearing notice for the matter in respect of a directive from the Chief Judge transferring back the case to Justice Dimgba.
But in a swift reaction, Turaki’s lawyer, Olusegun Jolaawo, raised two issues, which he said the court must resolve.
Specifically, Jolaawo had asked the court to allow parties to address it on the directive of the Chief Judge.
The Defence Counsel’s argument was that Justice Dimgba made a valid order on July 18, 2017, transferring the suit to Dutse.
He said the order is extant and has not been challenged or vacated.
In view of this, Jolaawo insisted that the CJ’s directive was administrative in nature.
Consequently, Turaki’s lawyer submitted that for the trial to be transferred back to Abuja, it must be through an order of the court.
At this juncture, Justice Dimgba directed Turaki’s counsel to file his motion challenging the decision of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the trial of Turaki back to Abuja.
The matter has been adjourned to March 13 for hearing.