The Court of Appeal sitting in Kano on Wednesday 13th April 2022 set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Kano which discharged and acquitted a Kano State gubernatorial candidate, Abdulsalam Sale Abdulkarim Zaura popularly known as AA Zaura.
Zaura was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a five-count charge before the Federal High Court sitting in Kano.
The Commission accused Zaura of defrauding a Kuwaiti national of the sum of One Million Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars ($1,320,000.00) only under the pretence that he is into real estate development in Dubai, Kuwait and other Arab countries.
On 9th June 2020, Justice A. L Allagoa found the defendant not guilty and discharged and acquitted him on all counts.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the prosecution counsel, Musa Isah appealed the judgment, asking the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the lower court.
In a unanimous judgment Wednesday 13th April 2022, a three-man panel of justices of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Abdullahi M. Bayero, overturned the judgment of the lower court and ordered that the defendant be tried afresh by a judge other than Justice Allagoa.
Justice Bayero said “ it is in evidence that the presence of the respondent was excused due to misconduct by the respondent. The entire trial is rendered nullity if he is not in court.
“For this sole reason, we accept the appellant’s contention that the judgment of the lower court was rendered in the absence of the appellant.
“In the instant appeal, the accused person was not in court on the 9th of June 2020 when the lower court delivered judgment against the accused.
“I, therefore, see merit in the submission of the appellant counsel. In that regard, I resolved the matter in favour of the appellant.”