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Recall that Faisal, alongside his father, was arraigned, on Oct. 25, 2019, by the EFCC on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, Mohammed Abubakar, counsel to the EFCC, told the court that though the matter was slated for continuation of cross examination of second prosecution witness, the commission had an amended charge dated Jan. 22 and filed the same day.
Adeola Adedipe, counsel to Faisal, however, objected to the application.
Adedipe noted that though the prosecution deserved the right to amend the charge, such amendment must be prescribed by the leave of court as provided by Section 218(2 ) of ACJA.
“The order of court is not approppriately endorsed on the purported amended charge. So it may not be useful for today’s hearing,” he argued.
Abubakar, however, countered Adedipe’s argument.
According to him, I submit that counsel misconceived the intent and purpose of Section 218(2) of ACJA because it does not make it mandatory for prosecution to first obtain leave of court before filing an amended charge.
“The counsel has jumped the gun because the issue of endorsement can only come after the amendment,” he remarked.
Justice Abang, who noted that the drafter of Section 218(2) of ACJA might have created the controversy, granted the anti-graft agency’s prayer.
“Section 281(2) is not clear on whether it is the judge or registrar that will endorse the note of order of amendment.
The three-count charge reads: “That you, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina (alias Alhaji Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) between Oct. 2013 and June 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court did operate an anonymous account No: 1017558607 (Alh Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) in a commercial bank by concealing your true identity and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 11(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 11(4) of the same Act.
“That you Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina (alias Alh Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2) between Oct. 2013 and June 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Hon. Court, indirectly controlled an aggregate sum of N58,111,585.00 (Fifty Eight. Million, One Hundred and Eleven Thousand, five Hundred and Eighty Five Naira only) paid through a commercial bank account of Alh. Faisal Abdullahi Farms II, when you reasonably ought to have known fhat the said funds formed part of the proceed of unlawfui activity (to wit: corruption of one Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina who is facing a separate charge) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act.
“That you Faisal Addulrasheed Maina on or about Oct 3, 2019, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Hon Court knowingly failed to make full disclosure of your assets and liabilities in the Declaration of Assets Form dated Oct. 3, 2019 which you filled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) office at No. 5, Fomella Street, Wise II , Abuja, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 27(3)(a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act., 2004 and punishable under Section 27(3)(c) of the same Act.”