Maina seeks variation of bail conditions

Former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, has asked Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja to grant him a bail variation following his inability to meet his current bail conditions.

Justice Abang had in November 2019 granted Maina bail in the sum of N1bn with two sureties in like sum.

Both sureties must be serving Nigerian senators with no criminal cases before the court and must have fully developed landed property in Maitama or Asokoro district of Abuja.

He also ruled that the two sureties must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.

Mr Maina is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds, and is facing trial for alleged money laundering. He is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge, and is also accused of operating fictitious accounts and carrying out other fraudulent activities.

He was arrested by a joint team of the EFCC and the State Security Services after years of evading trial.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, Maina’s counsel, Afam Osigwe, presented an application pursuant to section 181 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act seeking a bail variation for Mr Maina.

Osigwe informed the court that though two senators had been approached to stand as surety, they don’t have properties in the jurisdiction cited by the court.He said, “They (two senators) have stated that they neither have properties in either Asokoro or Maitama worth the amount specified by the court.

“When you approach a person to be your surety and the person says I don’t have this property, I think it would be disrespectful to go behind investigating whether what the person has told you is true.”

Not moved by the plea of Maina, Justice Abang held that the court has reason for imposing such bail conditions and must be well convinced before it can be varied.

The judge said, “The court did not fix those conditions for fun. The court has reasons for imposing those conditions.

“So, if you want the court to vary it, convincingly, you have to establish the fact that the applicant is unable to comply with those conditions.”

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