The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, has rejected a request by the lead defence lawyer, Sani Katu, to withdraw from the legal team of the chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
The decision by Mr Katu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to withdraw from the N2 billion money laundering case comes less than two months after he was engaged by Mr Maina to lead his defence.
However, the application was opposed by the counsel prosecuting the defendant for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Farouk Abdullah, who said the defence lawyer failed to meet the conditions to withdraw from the case.
The trial judge, Okon Abang, upheld EFCC’s objection and dismissed Mr Katu’s application on the grounds that he failed to give three days notice to the court to quit as provided in section 349(8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
“From the record of the court, no such application has been filed,” the judge said.
“It is not a sentimental issue.
“It is an issue of law which cannot be overlooked, notwithstanding the enviable position of the learned senior counsel at the bar.
“If the law expects a notice to be filed in section 349(8) of ACJA, it must be done.
“The non-compliance goes to the root and affects the foundation of the application to withdraw.”