Hon. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, ordered that Senator Ali Ndume be remanded in Kuje Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NcoS) for failure to produce Abdulrasheed Maina in court.
Ndume, who stood surety for Maina, a former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), was given the options of either being remanded in prison custody, forfeiting the N500 million bail bond to the Federal Government by paying the sum into the federation account, disposing of his Asokoro, Abuja property by the government in order to realize the bail bond or producing Maina in court, while the session lasted.
Ndume’s failure to choose any of the options resulted in his being led away by officers of NCoS.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina, alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, on a 12-count of operating fictitious bank accounts, corruption, and money laundering to the tune of N2 billion, for which the commission has so far called six witnesses.
Maina was granted bail in sum of N1 billion on November 26, 2019, which was later varied on January 28, 2020 to N500 million with a senator as surety, and further varied on June 29, 2020, leading to a volunteer by Ndume as his surety.
Since his release on bail, the trial has been adjourned on four consecutive occasions without Maina making an appearance. As a result, the court on November 18, 2020, issued a bench warrant on Maina, revoked his bail and ruled to try him in absentia.
The court adjourned hearing till yesterday for Ndume to show cause why he should not be committed to prison or forfeit his N500 million bail bond or have his highbrow Asokoro, Abuja residence sold to realise the bail bond.
At the hearing yesterday, Ndume’s counsel, M.E. Oru, rather told the court that he had applied to the deputy registrar for the record of the court proceedings and the bench warrant that was issued on Maina, and was yet to be obliged. He asked for an adjournment to enable him prepare adequately.
Prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar, noted that the defence counsel’s submission contained no formal response, either orally or written, to the applications that relate to his client despite being afforded the opportunity by the court on November 19, 2020 and during the day’s sitting.
Abubakar, therefore, submitted that Ndume should be sanctioned for his failure to produce Maina for trial. The case has been adjourned to November 24.
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