Alleged Pension Fraud: I Don’t Know Maina’s Whereabouts, Ndume Tells Court

1
Ali Ndume
Ali Ndume

Alex Enumah in Abuja

Senator Ali Ndume, yesterday told Justice Okon Abang, of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court that he currently had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the former Chairman of the Pension Reformed Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina.

Maina is standing trial on a 12-count criminal charge bordering on fraud and money laundering, amongst others.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned him on October 25, 2019, alongside his son, Faisal, and Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, a firm said to be owned by him.

Ndume, had recently stood as surety for him, after he was admitted to bail.

It would be recalled that Maina spent about nine months at the Kuje Correctional Centre, owing to the stringent conditions attached to his bail before it was waived.

When the matter came up yesterday, Maina for the third consecutive time was not in court and his lawyer, Mr. Francis Oronsaye, informed the court that the 1st defendant was not in court, praying the court for an adjournment.

Before yesterday, both Maina and Ndume, were not in court on September 29 and the matter was adjourned till September 30.

Oronsaye, had told the court that his client was at Maitama Hospital where he was receiving medical treatment.

Although, Ndume was in court on September 30, to sign the court register in line with the bail conditions, Maina was however not in court, thereby forcing another adjournment on the court.

However, at yesterday’s proceedings, Ndume, was present but said that he was expecting Maina to be in court as well.

He explained that he was not in court on September 29 due to the Boko Haram attack on the convoy of the governor of his state (Borno) in which a number of security personnel lost their lives.

He urged the court to give him time to consult with Maina’s lawyer and family to know if Maina would guarantee to always be in court in order for him to continue to stand as his surety.

Ndume, who disclosed that he agreed to stand as surety for Maina after his family assured that Maina will always be in court to stand trial however told Justice Abang that,

“I did not foresee this circumstances my lord”.

Ndume said he had expected that each day, he would only produce Maina in court and then proceeded to other national assignments of representing his constituency and the country in general.

He told the court that Maina’s doctor said he was in a hospital on admission.

When Justice Abang asked Ndume if he knew where Maina was, he said: “My lord, I must confess I do not know.”

The lawmaker said he had made effort to track Maina down through the commissioner of police, FCT.

He said the outcome of the police effort to track him down yielded result as they were able to discover his residence in Jabi area of Abuja.

“I do not know his residence in Abuja but I know his residence in Kaduna,” he said.

The senator said he had not gone to his house since Maina’s wife gave him assurance that he would be in court for the day’s proceeding.

He, however, enjoined the court to give him time to produce Maina in court.

EFCC’s Lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, opposed the pleas made by Oronsaye and Ndume.

Abdullah said though Oronsaye said Maina was ill and bedridden, the EFCC’s investigation revealed that Maina was not a patient at Maitama General Hospital.

Abdullah, who urged the court to take judicial notice of the events, said the development showed that Maina had jumped bail.

He accordingly asked the court to revoke Maina’s bail and also order the committal of Ndume to Correctional Center or forfeit the bail bond which was used to secure Maina’s release.

Justice Abang in a short ruling however adjourned the matter until October 5, while ordering that Ndume endeavor to produce Maina in court at the next adjournment.