ANDREW OROLUA, ABUJA.
Former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina on Wednesday urged the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to hear his another bail application.
The defendant who is facing a 12 count charge for allegedly laundering N2bn had jumped bail last year and was rearrested through the help of Interpol in Niger Republic last December.
Maina new lawyer Mr. Anayo Adibe who took over the defence team after
Maina former lawyer Joe Gadzama (SAN) withdrew his representation told the court on Wednesday that the defendant had filed two bail applications dated 21 December and 24 December 2020.
He applied to the trial Court judge,Justice Okon Abang to withdraw the application dated 21 December 2020. His request was granted as the prosecution counsel Mohammed Abubakar did not oppose.
Consequently, Adibe prayed the Court for permission to argue the bail application. Though prosecution counsel expressed readiness to oppose the bail application, the court ruled that it was not convenient to hear the application on Wednesday . Justice Abang adjourned the matter to February 1, for hearing of the bail application.
Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel Mohammed Abubakar has vehemently opposed Maina bail application. In the document filed in opposition to the bail application, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is insisting that Maina a flight risk ,same argument which he put forward last year.
He said that despite the precautionary measures taken by the court in admitting Maina to bail the defendant still jump bail and would repeat same this time around as he has dual citizenship.
The agency said the defendant has demonstrated by his conduct in jumping bail earlier granted him by same court that he is not prepare to stand trial but to frustrate the trial .
According to agency the defendant is currently in custody as result of jumping bail granted him by the court .That his rearrest was made possible by a bench warrant issued by the court, His extradition back to Nigeria from Niger Republic and his production in Court on December 9 was aided by police.
EFCC also stated that Maina claim of ‘health challenges’ are false. ” Maina did not suffer or undergo any treatment for any ‘health challenges ‘ whether in Nigeria or in Niger Republic ” it said.
The Commission maintained that the Correctional Centre where he is presently in custody has adequate medical facilities to handle any illness and in the event that he feel ill the medical team will handle it.
The agency therefore pledged to ensure expeditious prosecution of Maina case.
Recall that at the last sitting the judge, Justice Abang had ordered the embattled former pension boss to open his defence on January 26, 2021.
That adjournment was at the instance Maina’s lawyer, Anayo Adibe as he asked for an adjournment on the ground that he is unable to proceed with his no-case submission due to his inability to access the certified true copy of the court’s record of proceedings.