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Nigeria: Deaf accused stalls trial for subsidy scam

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Nnamdi Felix/ Abuja

The planned arraignment of two persons and two companies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of an Abuja High Court, was stalled because one of the accused was deaf.

His lawyer had to appeal to the court to allow his client have access to medical attention and obtain hearing aid to enable him follow the proceedings of his trial.

The accused person, Alhaji Saminu Rabiu, is said to have hearing problems and requires a hearing aid to hear the charges brought against him and the others, to enable him understand the charges and to make his plea.

Indication that the arraignment may be aborted emerged as the court started proceedings at the trial. Every thing had to be severally repeated to Saminu Rabiu without comprehension on his part, owing to his impaired hearing ability.

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His lawyer, Ms. Blessing Omaghe subsequently applied for a short adjournment to enable her client access medical attention and acquire hearing aid facility before his trial can commence.

The court acquiesced to this request and adjourned the matter to 17 October for the arraignment of the accused persons.

The accused persons and their organisations were indicted in the fuel subsidy scam. They are Saminu Rabiu, Jubril Rowaye, Alminnur Resources Limited and Brila Energy Limited.

They were slammed with a 17 count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraudulently obtaining the sum of N1.051 billion, from the Petroleum Support Fund as payment for the purported importation of 10,000 metric tonnes of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

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