Sun. Jul 5th, 2020

Maina tells court he can’t meet bail conditions

The former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, on Monday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he could not fulfill the conditions of the bail granted to him.

Mr Maina is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds, and is facing trial for alleged money laundering. He is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge, and is also accused of operating fictitious accounts and carrying out other fraudulent activities.

The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service last year.

The SSS handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.

His son, Faisal, who was arrested alongside the father in September, is accused of operating an account he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million.

The two men were arraigned by the EFCC on October 25 on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty.
Bail conditions

The court on November 25 admitted the former pension chairman to bail in the sum of N1 billion.

Justice Okon Abang, who gave the ruling, also ordered that Mr Maina must produce two sureties who must be serving senators.

The judge said the two lawmakers must not be standing criminal trial in any court in the country.

He also ruled that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500 million bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.
Court session

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Mr Maina’s lawyer, Afam Osigwe, informed the court that his client could not meet the bail conditions.

Mr Osigwe presented an application pursuant to section 181 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), seeking a bail variation for Mr Maina.

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According to the lawyer, although two senators had indicated interest to stand as sureties, “they have stated that they neither have properties in either Asokoro or Maitama worth the amount specified by the court.”

Justice Abang asked Mr Osigwe if he obtained documents containing the information of landowners in Abuja from the land registry and he replied, “No”!

“The land registry treats such documents as confidential,” he said.

Mr Maina’s lawyer added that “to even conduct a search on an identified property, the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), would not permit you to do so unless you produce the original titled document together with a letter of consent.

“When you approach a person to be your surety and the person says I don’t have this property, I think it would be disrespectful to go behind investigating whether what the person has told you is true,” he said.

However, Justice Abang, held that Mr Maina ought to have attached documents to prove their claim.

“The court did not fix those conditions for fun. The court has reasons for imposing those conditions. So, if you want the court to vary it, convincingly, you have to establish the fact that the applicant is unable to comply with those conditions,” the judge said.

Mr Abang also added that the defendant failed to challenge the prosecution’s claim that he (Mr Maina) no longer resides in Abuja and might run away if released on bail.

But Mr Osigwe in his argument said all Mr Maina’s travel passports had been seized by the anti-graft agency.

“All the documentation relating to his residential permit in Dubai, UAE is all with the EFCC and a High Court of the FCT,” he said.

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