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Maina begs court to relax bail conditions

ON Monday, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team who is currently being charged with money laundering to the tune of N2 billion at the Federal High Court in Abuja pleaded with the court to relax some of the conditions of his bail granted to him in November last year.

After his arrest in October 2019, he was arraigned alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd and has been remanded in Abuja prison after failing to meet the bail conditions.

At the trial, he appealed to the presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, that the part of the bail conditions which requires him to produce two sureties, who must be serving senators with landed properties worth N500m each in Maitama or Asokoro, areas of Abuja, was extreme and harsh.

Maina, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, urged the court to drop the conditions in the interest of justice.

A part of the conditions of the bail granted by Justice Okon on November 25, 2019, the court had directed him to produce two serving senators, to guarantee the N1bn bail sum.

The judge also stated that the sureties to be produced by Maina must promise to appear in court with him at every trial date, until the conclusion of the case.

Adding that, should at least one of the defendants fail to appear with Maina at any court sitting, the bail would be revoked.

Among other conditions, the judge said the defendant should also deposit his United States of America passport with the chief registrar of the court, pending the conclusion of the trial.

At the hearing of the bail variation application filed by Maina, the defendant’s lawyer, Afam Osigwe, said while his client had met other conditions, it had been impossible for him to get senators to serve as the sureties.

While commending the judge for granting bail to his client, Osigwe said the bail conditions were “excessive and impossible to meet”.

“The stringent and excessive nature of the conditions is evidenced by the inability of the first defendant/applicant (Maina) to meet those conditions as of today, January 13, 2020.

“The conditions he is unable to meet are set out in paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed in support.

“The sureties (proposed) whose names are also mentioned said they do not have properties worth N500m in either Asokoro or Maitama.”

In response, the judge questioned if the defence team had conducted a search of the land registry in Abuja to confirm the claim of the proposed sureties.

He stated that the conditions were attached to the bail for a reason, adding that the defence team, which argued the bail application in November last year, failed to challenge EFCC’s claim that Maina was no longer resident in Nigeria.

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