El-Rufai have case to answer – Court

Attempts by the former Minister of FCT, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, to have the corruption charges filed against him quashed yesterday by Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, OAU quarters, Abuja failed  as the judge ruled that the trial must continue.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) had charged El-Rufai on an eight-count charge of criminal conspiracy and abuse of office while he was the FCT minister.

The Judge had ruled previously that the EFCC should paste charges against the former FCT Minister, on the wall of his residence at 12, Mambila Street, Maitama, Abuja, following his failure to make himself available for service of court papers.

Two other persons who are being prosecuted alongside El-Rufai are Altine Jubrin, former Director General, Abuja Geographic Information System, (AGIS), and Ismaila Iro, former General Manager, AGIS.

The summons of the duo had long been served on them.But at the resumed hearing, yesterday, counsel to El-Rufai,  Akin Olujimi (SAN), raised a motion on jurisdiction, saying the judge lacks the jurisdiction to continue with the proceedings of the charges levelled at his client.

Olujimi further said he had since August 8, 2009 filed an application for lack of jurisdiction by the court.EFCC lawyer, Adebayo Adelokun (SAN), however, told the court that the application could not stand as he only got the said application the previous day.In his short ruling, Justice Bello said the application seeking to quash the charges lacked merit and therefore could not stand.

He said El-Rufai must make himself available for trial more so that the counsel to the second and the third accused persons, E. C. Din and Peter Ofikwu respectively aligned with the position of the court.

The Judge then adjourned the case to December 8, 2009 for adoption of addresses by the counsel.