Again, Maina fails to show up in court over alleged N738.6m contract scam 

For the fourth consecutive time, the embattled chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, on Wednesday failed to show up before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for his trial on an alleged N738.6 million contract scam.

Maina was arraigned before Justice Abubakar Kutigi, sitting at Gwagwalada, Abuja, on November 21, 2019, alongside his secretary, Ann Olachi, on a nine-count charge bordering on contact racketeering and stealing to the tune of N738.6m by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission alleged that the embattled Maina used his position to award fictitious contracts for purported biometric enrolment of pensioners, an offence punishable under Section 317 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532 Vol 4, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria 2007.

Both defendants were further alleged to have, among other charges, between December 2010 and January 2011 dishonestly received an aggregate sum of N136.2million from one Ibrahim Abdulkarim, knowing same to have been stolen from the Federal Government under the guise of payment of allowances.

At the resumed hearing of the case today, the prosecuting counsel, Halima Shehu, informed the court that the matter was slated for further cross-examination of the first prosecution witness (PW1), noting, however, that the first defendant, Maina was not in court.

She stated that from the development before the court, it seemed that Maina had jumped bail having failed to attend court.

According to the prosecuting counsel, the case had been previously fixed for February 21, April 2-3 and December 2, 2020, but the first defendant was not in court on those dates as well as yesterday.

In view of the fact that Maina was remanded by the Federal High Court, Abuja, at the Kuje Correctional Centre, Shehu urged the court to issue a production warrant on the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) to produce the first defendant in court.

Counsel for the second defendant, Wale Balogun, on his part, expressed his dilemma over the first defendant’s continuous absence in court.

Following Maina’s absent, Justice Kutigi adjourned the case till March 31 for the continuation of hearing.

He, however, directed the court’s registrar to ensure production warrant is served on the NCoS and also serve hearing notice on the counsel for Maina.

The judge, however, urged that since the prosecution is the one prosecuting Maina before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, it should liaise with the first defendant’s lawyers to know if they are still the ones appearing for him before the FCT High Court.

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