I Can’t Get Senators with N1bn Properties as My Sureties, Maina Tells Court

0

A former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who is standing trial on charges of money laundering involving N2billion yesterday appealed to the Federal High Court in Abuja to drop some of the conditions attached to the N1billion granted him by the Court in November last year.

Maina, who was arraigned along with his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, has been remanded in Abuja prison since October last year due to his inability to meet the bail conditions.

He told Justice Okon Abang, yesterday that the part of the bail conditions requiring him to produce two sureties, who must be serving senators with landed properties worth N500million each in Maitama or Asokoro, two highbrow areas of Abuja, was excessive and stringent.

Maina, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), urged the court to drop the said conditions in the interest of justice.

As part of the conditions of the bail granted him by Justice Abang had on November 25, 2019 directed him to produce two serving senators, to guarantee the N1billion bail sum.

The judge added that the sureties to be produced by Maina must undertake to appear in court with him at every trial date, pending the conclusion of the case.

He added that should at least one of the defendants fail to appear with Maina at any court sitting, the bail would be revoked.

Among other conditions, the judge said the defendant should also deposit his United States of America passports with the Chief Registrar of the court, pending the conclusion of the trial.

At the hearing of the bail variation application filed by Maina on December 6, 2019, the defendant’s lawyer, Mr. Afam Osigwe, said while his client had met other conditions, it had been impossible for him to get senators to serve as the sureties. While commending the judge for granting bail to his client, Osigwe said the bail conditions were “excessive and impossible to meet”.

“The stringent and excessive nature of the conditions is evidenced by the inability of the first defendant/applicant (Maina) to meet those conditions as of today, January 13, 2020.

“The conditions he is unable to meet are set out in paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed in support.

“The sureties (proposed) whose names are also mentioned said they do not have properties worth N500 million in either Asokoro or Maitama.”

In response, the judge questioned if the defence team had conducted a search of the land registry in Abuja to confirm the claim of the proposed sureties.

He said the conditions were attached to the bail for a reason, adding that the defence team, which argued the bail application in November last year, failed to challenge EFCC’s claim that Maina was no longer resident in Nigeria.