The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said, Friday, that the chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has not been remorseful for jumping bail and fleeing abroad last year.
Mr Maina, who is being prosecuted by the commission on N2 billion money laundering charges, jumped bail and fled to Republic of Niger where he hid for some months last year.
While he was on the run, the trial judge, Okon Abang, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, revoked the bail earlier granted him and put his surety, Ali Ndume, a serving senator, behind bars for some days before releasing him on bail.
With the help of the arrest warrant issued by the judge, security agencies apprehended Mr Maina in Niger Republic and brought him back to court on December 4.
The defendant, who had skipped court proceedings for almost four months, was immediately remanded in prison till the end of his trial.
‘Lack of remorse’
But Mr Maina had barely spent three weeks in detention when on December 24, he filed a fresh bail application anchored on his alleged deteriorating health.
At the hearing of Mr Maina’s fresh bail application on Friday, EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, urged the court to dismiss it, insisting that the defendant did not deserve a second chance.
Mr Abubakar said the affidavit filed by the defendant in support of the bail application showed that he took a premeditated decision to jump bail and showed no remorse about it.
“The 1st defendant/applicant (Maina), without any remorse, stated in paragraph 9 of his affidavit that, as a result of the order for his arrest, he decided to seek a better medical facility for the treatment of his knee and was eventually referred to a military hospital in Chad Republic and Niger Republic where the knee surgery was successfully carried out,” Mr Abubakar said.
The prosecutor said the implication of Mr Maina’s claim was that “his jumping bail was a premeditated decision”.
“It was a decision he took by himself in disobedience to the gracious order of this honourable court in releasing him on bail,” he added.
‘Secret trip to Chad revealed’
He also noted that Mr Maina, by his statement, confessed to travelling to Republic of Chad, a fact hitherto unknown to the prosecution.According to him, “the defendant was able to embark on the trips even with his American and Nigerian passports already seized by the court as part of the bail conditions earlier granted him by the court”.
“It is also clear by this paragraph that while we thought that the 1st defendant applicant fled to Niger Republic, he is now informing the court that he also went to Chad Republic while his American and Nigerian passports are in custody of the court,” he said.
He said the medical report on his (Maina) current state of health issued by the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital presented by Mr Maina mentioned nothing about the knee surgery he claimed to have undergone outside the country.
‘Trip to save me from amputation’
Mr Maina had stated in his fresh bail application that his leg would have been amputated if he did not travel to Niger Republic for medical care.
Earlier arguing Mr Maina’s bail application on Friday, his lawyer, Sani Katu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, told the judge that as a result of the defenant’s failing health, a letter had been sent to Kuje Correctional Centre on the need to give him proper medical attention.
He said the Kuje prison where the defendant was being kept lacked the needed facility to attend to his health conditions.
The lawyer also said the defendant had to be recently taken to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada when the medical report presented by the defence was issued.
He urged the court to grant a fresh bail to Mr Maina bail to enable him to attend to his “deteriorating health”.
He said his client would not abuse the privilege.
Mr Maina, in his affidavit filed in support of the application, stated that he had reasonable and responsible sureties who were willing to act as sureties if granted bail.
Meanwhile, Justice Abang adjourned till February 25 for ruling.
The EFCC, on February 4, had informed the court, that Mr Maina’s son, Faisal Maina, who is also standing trial on money laundering charges, had jumped bail and fled to the U.S.
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