Senator Ali Ndume who represents Borno South has agreed to stand surety for the embattled Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who is facing trial over his alleged involvement in money laundering.
The former pension boss had since October 25, 2019, remained at the Kuje Correctional Center over his inability to perfect some of the conditions the Federal High Court in Abuja gave for his release on bail.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had alleged that Maina used a firm- Common Input Properties & Investment Limited- to launder funds to the tune of about N2billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
The firm was cited as the 2nd Defendant in the 12-count criminal charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Maina used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, as well as recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channeled.
It told the court that some of the bogus names Maina used to operate the accounts in a bid to conceal his true identity, included Aliyu Nafisatu and Dr. Abdullahi A. Fisal.
In a ruling on April 29, Justice Abang, dismissed the request and held that the Defendant failed to adduce any material to establish the existence of an exceptional circumstance that would warrant a review of the conditions the court imposed for his release on bail.
Meantime, at the resumed proceeding on the matter on Tuesday, Maina, through his lawyer, Chief J. K. Gadzama, SAN, told the court that Senator Ndume eventually agreed to stand surety for him.
Maina’s lawyer told the court that Senator Ndume acquired the said property from one Lawal Ahmed, whom he said recently died after he contracted Coronavirus.
He said the lawmaker, in a bid to prove that the property now belongs to him, tendered an irrevocable Power of Attorney that was issued to him by the deceased and duly verified by the FCT Administration.
“My lord, in principle, he has met the bail condition. The only reason why we have this unfortunate situation that he is still being incarcerated is that the court stressed that the C of O must be submitted. But he has tendered the Power of Attorney.
“We are asking my Lord to temper Justice with mercy.
“It will be the joy of this court to see the Defendant/Applicant enjoying his bail. The court will not be joyful that there is a mockery of its order granting bail to the Defendant”, Gadzama pleaded, adding that his client’s health had deteriorated.
”I am even surprised that he is in court today. My Lord the Defendant needs all kinds of physicians to see him.
“He is not seeing well and he has to go for surgery. It is in the interest of the court and the public whose funds have been alleged to have been tampered with, for him to live to face trial.
“We urge the court to be further magnanimous, by a variation of this single condition that has not been met”.
However, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Mr. Farouk Abdullah, filed a counter-affidavit to oppose Maina’s variation request.
It argued that Power of Attorney did not convey ownership of the said property to Senator Ndume.
Besides, EFCC drew attention of the court to the fact that though Senator Ndume agreed to stand surety for the Defendant, he made it clear that he would not be able to appear before the court on every trial date.
“This presupposes that the Defendant has not met all the conditions stipulated by this court. The affidavit indicates that Defendant is saying that another condition cannot be met.
“We state that this application is unmeritorious and deserved to be dismissed. We urge my Lord to dismiss it and order that all the conditions earlier given by this court be strictly complied with”.
Source: News update