Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday ordered that Senator Ali Ndume be remanded in Kuje Custodial Centre of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NcoS) for failure to produce Abdulrasheed Maina in court.
Ndume stood surety for Maina, former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
Details of what transpired in court have emerged.
During the session, Ndume was given the options of being remanded in prison custody, forfeiture of his N500 million bail bond to the federal government; losing his Asokoro house to the federal government, or producing Maina.
As Ndume failed to choose any, NCoS officers moved in and whisked him away.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina, alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, on a 12-count charge of operating fictitious bank accounts, corruption, and money laundering to the tune of N2billion.
The commission has so far called six witnesses.
Maina was granted bail in the sum of N1 billion on November 26, 2019, which was later varied on January 28, 2020 to N500 million with a senator as surety. This was further varied on June 29, 2020.
Ndume, a lawmaker from Borno State, then volunteered to stand as surety.
Since Maina’s release on bail, the trial has been adjourned on four consecutive occasions without his appearance.
Consequently, the court on November 18, 2020, issued a bench warrant on Maina, revoked his bail and ruled to try him in absentia.
Today, Ndume’s counsel, M. E. Oru, told the court that he had applied to the deputy registrar for records of the court proceedings and the bench warrant that was issued on Maina but was yet to be obliged.
Oru asked for an adjournment to enable him prepare adequately.
Prosecution counsel, M. S. Abubakar, objected. He noted that defence’s submission contained no formal response to the applications that relate to his client, despite being afforded the opportunity by the court on November 19, 2020, and current hearing.
Abubakar submitted that Ndume should either forfeit the N500 million bail bond, be remanded in prison custody or have his Asokoro residence sold by the federal government to raise the bail bond for his failure to produce Maina.
The case has been adjourned until November 24 for the continuation of Maina’s trial in his absence.