Alleged N2bn fraud: Court revokes Maina’s son’s bail, orders his arrest, summons surety
•Maina’s trial commences in absentia
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted to Faisal, son of the former Chairman of the defunct Presidential Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail.
Faisal was arraigned alongside his father last year by the anti-graft agency on money laundering charges.
The judge also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending his arrest or appearance in court.
Abang also summoned Faisal’s surety, Sani Umar Dangaladima who is a member of the House of Representatives, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.
Despite the absence on Maina’s son, the court ordered for continuation of his trial in his absence and adjourned till Wednesday.
The court also commenced the trial of Maina, in his absence.
Maina, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the federal government on a 12-count charge, bordering on money laundering and fraud of about N2 billion had jumped bail and a warrant of arrest had been issued against him by the court.
The former pension boss had refused to appear in court for his trial on four consecutive times since he was granted bail.
However, when the case was called on Tuesday, Maina, his company, Common Input Limited and Faisal were absent in court and were not represented by any lawyer without giving the reason for the absence.
At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.
Abubakar, therefore, applied for the revocation of his bail and his arrest citing section 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
The prosecution also applied for the court to order his trial in absentia as provided by 352(4) of ACJA.
Following the request by the prosecuting counsel, Justice Abang closed the right of Maina to continue cross-examining the sixth prosecution witness.
He also foreclosed the second defendant’s right to cross-examine the witness.
The judge, who also closed the defendants’ right to cross-examine the witness, also admitted exhibits tendered by the prosecution without any objection.
In a short ruling, Justice Abang said, “the defendant is not in court and he is not represented by any lawyer, he is deemed to have foreclosed his right for further cross-examination.
“He has the opportunity of cross-examining but refused to do so,” the judge ruled and adjourned till November 25 for the continuation of trial.
The seventh prosecution witness in Maina’s case, an estate developer, Ali Sani told the court in his evidence in chief how Maina bought a property worth N240 million with dollar equivalent of $1.4 million cash through his son, Faisal.
Another witness, Ibrahim Abdulkareem, (PW8), who was a member of the defunct Presidential Pension Reform Team narrated how Maina got N146 million for the biometric exercise of pensioners from the Head of Service.
He told the court that the money was splitted and paid into five different accounts of members of the team, and added that N5.99 million was paid into his own personal account.
He said Maina latter made him the “central collector”, to collect all the money paid into the account of members and that anytime he collects the money, he deposited same with one, Ann, a secretary to Maina who issued him a receipt after each deposit with her.
“Latter, Maina came into my office and asked me why I was requesting for receipt of the money given to Ann and I told him it was for the purpose of accounting for the money.
“He ordered me to give him the original acknowledgement receipts and I gave them to him,” he said and he tendered photocopies of the acknowledgement receipts which were accepted as exhibits by the court.
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