The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stated on Thursday that it had reported a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has jumped bail in his N2bn money laundering trial, to the governments of Niger Republic and the United States of America.
The anti-graft agency stated this in a counter-affidavit it filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja to oppose the bail application filed by the Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, who has been detained in prison since Monday over his suretyship for Maina.
The EFCC stated that it was making frantic efforts to get Maina arrested based on the warrant issued by the court on November 18, and had enlisted the support of other security agencies and foreign governments to that effect.
“That to the misleading deposition in paragraph 4(xxii) of the supporting affidavit, I know as a fact that the prosecution has obtained the bench warrant and is making frantic efforts to execute it, while enlisting the support of other security agencies in the country as well as some foreign governments, particularly the Republic of Niger and the United States of America,” the affidavit read in part.
Justice Okon Abang fixed today (Friday) for ruling on Ndume’s bail application.
The judge adjourned for ruling after Ndume’s lawyer, Marcel Oru, argued the bail application, which was opposed by the EFCC lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar.
On November 18, 2020, Justice Abang ruled that Maina had jumped bail, having been absent from trial on four previous occasions since September 29, 2020.
The judge thereby revoked the bail granted him, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial should proceed in absentia.
The judge also on Monday remanded Ndume in prison until he produced Maina or paid the N500m bail bond to the Federation Account.
Ndume, on Tuesday, filed an appeal against the remand order at the Court of Appeal, and an application for his bail before Justice Abang.
Arguing his client’s application before Justice Abang on Wednesday, Oru contended that he had shown special circumstances to warrant the granting of bail to the senator pending the hearing and determination of his appeal.
Noting that his client had been of good conduct and worthy of the judge’s favourable consideration, Oru said the senator always attended the trial sessions, keeping with the directive of the court as Maina’s surety.
Oru, who condemned Maina’s conduct of jumping bail, contended that denying the senator bail would discourage other responsible Nigerians from standing surety for criminal suspects.
He added, “The surety has not committed any offence. He was not charged and neither has he been indicted by any penal section.
“The act of the 1st defendant, Abdulrasheed Maina, is condemnable and despicable.
“Only God knows when a good Nigerian with a good heart will be bold enough to stand as surety for another Nigerian.
“We urge your lordship to grant our application and not throw the baby with the birth water.
“Even with his remand in prison for this short period, he has suffered enough pain and anguish, not just himself, but his family, supporters, etc.”
He added that Ndume being the Chairman of Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, his continued incarceration would affect the security of the country.
Opposing the application, EFCC’s lawyer, Abubakar, said the issues raised in the commission’s counter-affidavit were not controverted by the applicant.
He added that should the court grant the bail application, it would amount to it sitting in appeal over its own decision.
Abubakar noted that the senator, having appealed to the Court of Appeal, should be more interested in getting his appeal heard expeditiously.
The prosecuting counsel recalled that the court ordered that the senator could pay the bail bond of N500m or the EFCC should sell the property at Asokoro, Abuja used as security for the bail bond, if he was unable to produce Maina.