The Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday varied the conditions of bail granted to the former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina. Maina is facing trial over alleged money laundering.
Justice Okon Abang who granted the application for bail variation ordered Maina to produce N500m and one surety who must be a serving senator with landed property fully developed in Maitama, Asokoro, Business Central District, Wuse II, or Kantamkpe District of Abuja, with Certificate of Occupancy attached as evidence.
Justice Abang also ordered that the senator only needed to come to the court at every adjourned date to sign an attendance register that would be opened at the registry for that purpose and the registrar must sight the senator before he goes back to attend his legislative proceedings. Earlier, Justice Abang had noted that with the facts placed before the court, the application of the defendant ought not to have been granted.
“But in the past few adjournments, I watched the conduct of the defendant. He is calm and has not interrupted the proceedings of the court. Maybe he has realised that the court is bound to do justice in the case.”
Maina, who is standing trial on 12-count charge, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) filed against him and a firm, Common Input Properties and Investment Limited, had approached the court to review and vary some of the bail conditions, imposed on him on November 26, 2019.
He insisted that he found them too stringent to fulfill. The court had aside admitting him to bail to the tune of N1billion, stressed that he must produce two sureties with N500m each who must be serving Senators from any of the six geopolitical zones without pending criminal cases.
Justice Abang had held that the sureties must have fully developed landed properties in either Maitama or Asokoro Districts of the Federal Capital Territory; and reside in Abuja, accompany the defendant to court on every trial date and must submit their three years tax clearance certificate for verification.
Meanwhile, the trial Judge warned that Maina’s bail would be revoked any day his surety failed to accompany him to court for his trial. Besides, he directed the sureties to file an affidavit to show that they are capable of paying any penance should the defendant jump bail. He also ordered Maina to surrender all his diplomatic and international passport to the court’s registry. Maina has remained for over two months after he was granted bail, at the Kuje Correctional Center for his inability to perfect the conditions.
Aside allegation that he used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, EFCC had in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, alleged that the defendant used the firm to launder funds totaling about N2billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency alleged that Maina recruited his relatives that were staff of both the United Bank for Africa, UBA, and Fidelity Bank Plc, to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channeled.