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N2bn Fraud: Maina Seeks Bail Over ‘Deteriorating Medical Condition’

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The former Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, on Wednesday, approached Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for another bail.

Maina, in a motion on notice dated and filed on December 24, 2020 with charge number: FHC/ABJ/CR/258/19 brought by his lawyer, Anayo Adibe, said the application became necessary over his worsening health condition.

Maina (1st defendant) was arraigned before Justice Abang, on October 25, 2019, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd (2nd defendant).

He pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

In the motion, the ex-pension boss told the court that he had reasonable and responsible sureties who were willing to act as surety or sureties if granted bail.

He said his health condition had worsened as a result of his rearrest and detention.

Maina urged the court to grant the plea on the grounds that he was in custody at Kuje Correctional Centre and in serious need of medical attention.

According to the motion, the 1st defendant’s health is deteriorating resulting in his collapse in open court on the 10th of December, 2020.

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“That it is expedient to seek for the order of the honourable court to avail the 1st defendant the opportunity of getting adequate medical assistance,” it added.

At the resumed hearing on the bail plea, Maina was not in court but his counsel, Adibe, informed that he had a pending motion.

The EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, also told the court that a counter affidavit had been filed by the anti-corruption agency to oppose the request.

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The EFCC, in the counter affidavit deposed to by Mohammed U. Goji, an investigating officer and Head of Pension Fraud Unit of the agency, said most of the depositions by Maina were incorrect, false, irrelevant and misleading.

The anti-graft agency, alleged that Maina was presently in custody as a result of jumping the earlier bail granted him by the court and following his arrest in Niger Republic upon a bench warrant issued by the court, and his extradition back to Nigeria and production before the court.

The agency said Maina “sneaked out to Niger Republic after jumping court bail to obtain new travel documents at the Embassy of the U.S in Niamey to enable him flee back to the USA with his family where he and his family are equally citizens”.

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It said contrary to Maina’s claim, the anti-graft agency had not received any report about rapid deterioration in the health condition of Maina.

The EFCC argued that besides that the correctional centre had qualified medical officers and facilities that could take care of Maina, the agency also had health facilities that could cater for his needs.

It said contrary to Maina’s claim, the ex-pension boss would never honour his undertakings.

The EFCC reminded the court that in November 2019 when Maina sought for his bail, it told the court not to grant it because he would frustrate his trial if released on bail and the deposition came to pass.

The agency also reminded the court that Maina “is a flight risk, he maintains multiple citizenships and has no verifiable address and business in Nigeria”.
According to the anti-graft commission, he comes in and out of Nigeria through illegal routes and through Niger Republic.

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Justice Abang, who said it was not convenient for the court to hear the matter, adjourned the hearing of the application until February 1.

The ex-pension boss, who was last year granted bail in the sum of N500 million, stopped attending proceedings setting Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno South, who stood as his surety against the law.

Justice Abang, after a number of sittings, revoked Maina’s bail, ordered for his arrest and remanded his surety in prison.

He later granted Ndume bail on account of ”good behaviour” and continued Maina’s trial in absentia.

Maina was later rearrested in Niger Republic where he had taken refuge, and was extradited to Nigeria on December 3, 2020.

The EFCC, on December 4, 2020, brought him before the court, months after he jumped bail to stand his trial.

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