Court sends ex-Adamawa gov, Fintiri, to Kuje prison

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered that former governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, be remanded at the Kuje Prisons, Abuja, pending the determination of his bail application.

Fintiri was, on Thursday, arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a five-count charge, bordering on money laundering.

He was said to have defrauded the Adamawa State government of the sum of N970 million and another $4, 830 while he held sway as the governor of the state for three months.

Fintiri pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read out to him.

His counsel, Mahmud Magaji, applied for his bail on the grounds that the alleged offence, for which he was charged, was bailable.

Magaji hinged his argument for the bail of his client on Section 35 (6) of the 1999 Constitution, which presumes his client innocent until proven guilty by the court.

He also relied on Sections 158 and 163 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in urging the court to admit the defendant to bail.

“We rely on these sections in seeking the order of the court admitting the defendant to bail pending the determination of the case.

“At this stage, the accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution,” Magaji added.

According to the defence counsel,  bail was discretionary and that before the arraignment of the defendant, he had been on administrative bail of the anti-graft agency.

Part of the requirement for the bail of the defendant, he informed the court, was the deposit of his international passport with the EFCC.

Magaji assured the court that Fintiri would not jump bail and that he would always be available to defend himself in the charges slammed against him by the EFCC.

In opposing the bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Peters Aso, referred the court to a document filed by the defence concerning a medical issue of the defendant.

Aso said it appeared that Fintiri had lied on oath about the date he said the doctor examined him, which, he said, was different from the date he said the doctor told him of his ailment.

The prosecuting counsel said although he was not a medical personnel, he believed that until one was examined before he would be told of his health.

He prayed the court to deny the defendant bail on the grounds that he was sure the defendant would not come to court for trial if granted bail.

The trial  judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, however, fixed ruling on the bail application for Friday July 1, 2016 and ordered that Fintiri be remanded at the Kuje Prison in Abuja, until the determination of his bail application.

The five-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR /131/2016 and signed by Sylvanus Tahir of the legal and prosecution department of the EFCC read in part, “That you, Ahmadu Umaru (Alias Rt. Hon. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri) and Mayin Construction and Properties Ltd on or about October 2, 2014 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did indirectly disguise the origin of the sum of N80,000.000.00 only transferred from an account number 0313000301 domiciled at Eco Bank Plc operated by Timeplex Nigeria into account number 5742019591 domiciled at Eco Bank Plc operated by Mayim Construction and properties Ltd which sum you know is proceeds of an unlawful act; to wit: bribery and corruption and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2), (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act.