Pension fraud: Rep member to appear in court for standing surety for Maina’s son

•Hears Ndume's bail application •Witness tells court how pension fund was laundered

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday ordered a member of the House of Representatives representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, Sani Umar Dangaladima, to appear in court on December 4, 2020.

He will be showing up to know why he should not forfeit N60 million bail bond or be remanded in prison over the refusal of Faisal, the son of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina to appear in court to face his trial.

Dangaladima is standing as surety to Faisal in the N2 billion fraud charge preferred against him by the federal government along with his father and Common Input Property and Investment Limited.

Faisal, like his father Maina, refused to appear in court to face his trial in the money laundering charge being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Abang had on Tuesday summoned Dangaladima to appear in court yesterday to show cause why he should not be imprisoned if he failed to either produce Faisal or pay the N60 million bail bond to the Federal Government.

The lawmaker appeared in court yesterday with his counsel, Mohammed Sheriff, who informed the court that his client drove from Zamfara State upon hearing the news of his summons on Tuesday without waiting to be formally served with the order of the court.

Sheriff told the court that he was just briefed of the matter and pleaded with the court for an adjournment to enable him to file his client’s defence.

Following a no objection from the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, Justice Abang adjourned till December 4 for Faisal to open his defence and for Dangaladima to show cause why he should not be made to forfeit the N60 million bail bond or be remanded in prison instead.

Also on Wednesday, the trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, Faisal’s father in is a N2 billion money laundering charges continued in his absence with the 9th Prosecution Witness (PW9) been led in evidence by the prosecution counsel.

The court had on Monday ordered the remand of Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume to be remanded in prison over the refusal of the former pension boss to appear in court to face his trial.

The court held that Ndume should remain on detention until he produced Maina or paid the sum of N500 million bail bond to the Federation Account.

Ndume, through his counsel, Marcel Oru, had on Tuesday filed an appeal against the remand order of the trial court before the Court of Appeal, along with an application for Ndume’s bail filed before the court.

Justice Abang on Wednesday fixed Thursday to hear the bail application has confirmed in the course of the trial Maina’s absence that the bail application was filed by Ndume’s counsel.

Although Ndume’s lawyer was not present in court, EFCC’s counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, confirmed that he had been served with the hearing notice.

Also at yesterday’s proceedings, Adeola Adedipe, counsel to Common Input Properly and Investment Limited, a company owned by Maina and the second defendant in the matter, informed the court of his notice of disengagement from the matter for personal reasons and that he has filed an application before the court to that effect.

“My intention to disengage from the matter is personal and most importantly, my brief has not been perfected. Opting out of the matter is not out to disrespect to the court but that, filing a notice of disengagement is in line with Section 349(7) of to Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA)”, he told the court and apologized for not appearing in court in the previous sittings on the matter.

But, Justice Abang, upon enquiry from the Court Registrar discovered that Adedipe’s notice of disengagement was not in the record of the court and also fell short of the provision of Section 349(8) of ACJA, which requires a three-day notice before a lawyer can disengage from a case in the court.

On that note, Justice Abang declined the request and ordered for the continuation of the trial and the prosecution, Mohammed Abubakar called the 9th prosecution witness (PW9) in the trial.

PW9, Rouqayya Ibrahim, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in her evidence in chief, told the court how Maina allegedly laundered the pension fund, through five bank accounts linked to him.

She said, “In total, we were able to establish that at least N14 billion was stolen from the pension account.

Abang adjourned till December 3, for the continuation of trial.

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