Alleged pension fraud: Absence of judge, Maina stall trial
The absence of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Chairman, Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), on Monday, stalled the continuation of the ongoing money laundering trial.
Although Justice Abang and Maina were not in court for the day’s proceeding, Sen. Ali Ndume, who is standing as surety for the ex-pension reformed boss, was in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Maina (1st defendant) before Justice Abang, on Oct. 25, 2019, alongside his son, Faisal; and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.
Although Maina is facing 12-counts bordering on money laundering, he had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
It would be recalled that the former pension reformed chair was recently released from Kuje Prison nine months after he was able to produce the senator who deposed to an affidavit to always bring the 1st defendant to court at every adjourned date or forfeit the N500 million bail bond.
NAN also reports that Ndume, who represents Borno South in the National Assembly, had told the court, on Oct. 2, that he did not know the whereabouts of Maina after the 1st defendant was absent from court for the third time.
The judge, in the last sitting, had ordered Ndume to produce Maina unfailing at today’s (Monday’s) proceeding or he would be forced to grant the EFCC’s prayers to revoke Maina’s bail and issue a warrant of arrest against him.
Besides, the anti-graft agency had also prayed the court to make an order for the lawmaker to forfeit the N500 million bail bond to the Federal Government and be remanded in prison pending the time he was able to meet the pledge.
At the resumed trial on Monday, counsel to the parties and Sen. Ndume were all in court at about 9 am but Justice Abang and Maina were not in court.
Maina’s case was number two on the course list.
The court registrar, after litigants in cases scheduled for the day, had waited for over an hour, announced that the day’s sitting would not be holding.
“The court is indisposed and all criminal cases slated for today will be adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, including the case between the Federal Government and Abdulrasheed Maina,” the registrar said.