Senator Ali Ndume has agreed to stand as surety for Abdulrasheed Maina, the embattled former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Maina is standing trail for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion. Maina has been struggling with his bail applications with his lawyers applying for variation of the bail conditions.
In November 2019, the Court granted Maina bail in the sum of N500 million and two sureties in like sum (i.e N500 million each making N1.5 billion), the sureties must be serving senators with no criminal matter in any of the courts. The sureties must also possess landed or developed property in Asokoro or Maitama. They must also undertake to always accompany the defendant to court at every sitting and that the bail could be revoked for the absence of any of the sureties without reasonable cause.
In January 2020, Maina appealed for a variation of the bail conditions, and the Court reduced the conditions to N500 million and one surety in like sum (making N1 billion), the surety must be a serving senator with no criminal trial in any court and the senator must have a landed or developed property in Wuse2, Katampe, Central Business District, Asokoro or Maitama. Furthermore, the surety must undertake to always accompany Maina to court and sign a register that would be opened specifically for the purpose of this proceedings, and that the registrar shall sight the senator and once sited can go back to perform his legislative duties.
June 2020, Maina is still seeking further reduction in his bail requirements. Moving an application for a further variation of the bail conditions granted to Maina, Joe Gadzama, Maina’s counsel informed the court that Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, has agreed to stand in for Maina. The senator has met all the conditions except one, which is why the defendant is seeking a variation of the bail terms which was previously reviewed. He said the condition is that of the surety having a certificate of occupancy of a landed property in Abuja.
He said, “The surety has submitted a certificate of occupancy of a landed property but it is not in his name. It is in the name of Lawal Ahmed. But the owner is Ndume who purchased it from Lawal Ahmed. In addition, there is a certified irrevocable power of attorney by Lawal to Ndume. It is as good as the certificate and supersedes the certificate because it is the latest in time. The only way to show new power of ownership is by issuing irrevocable power of attorney. The only reason why he is still being incarcerated is that the court said it has to be a certificate of occupancy in the name of the surety. We ask my lord to temper justice with mercy. This gentleman is very sick. He needs to see an ophthalmologist because he cannot see well. He also needs orthopaedic surgery,” the lawyer said. It is in the interest of parties and the public whose funds is alleged to have been tampered with for him to live and face trial. I urge the court to once more, be magnanimous by further varying the one condition that he has been unable to meet.”
Responding to the requests to reduce Maina’s bail conditions, the defence counsel, Farouk Abdulah, lawyer to the prosecution, urged the court to dismiss the application for further variation of the bail terms. He said what Maina submitted is power of attorney and it does not convey title. “In the case of the FCT, it is only the President that can allocate land to an individual. The minister of the FCT exercises the power on behalf of the president, No individual who has enjoyed the power of allocation from the minister can allot to himself the power to further allocate or transfer that land to another.”
Okon Abang, the presiding judge, fixed June 29 to deliver a ruling on Maina’s bail application.