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Pension Fraud: Absence of Maina, judge stall trial

The absence of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), on Monday, stalled the continuation of the ongoing money laundering trial.

Although Justice Abang and Mr Maina were not in court for the day’s proceedings, Ali Ndume, who is standing as surety for the ex-pension reformed boss, was in court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Mr Maina before Justice Abang, on October 25, 2019, alongside his son, Faisal; and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.

Although Mr Maina is facing 12-counts bordering on money laundering, he has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The former pension reform chairman 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 Mr Ndume, who represents Borno South in the National Assembly, had told the court, on October 2, that he did not know the whereabouts of Mr Maina after the 1st defendant was absent from court for the third time.

Ali Ndume
Ali Ndume

The judge, in the last sitting, had ordered Mr Ndume to produce Mr Maina unfailing at today’s (Monday’s) proceeding or he would be forced to grant the EFCC’s prayers to revoke Mr 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, the counsel to the parties and Mr Ndume were all in court at about 9am but Justice Abang and Mr Maina were not in court.

ALSO READ: Alleged Pension Fraud: I can’t find Maina, Ndume tells court

Mr 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.

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All efforts to interview Mr Ndume were unsuccessful as the lawmaker said he would not speak since the court did not sit.

(NAN)



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