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Alleged N2bn fraud: Again absence of judge, Maina stall trial



The absence of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, and Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), on Tuesday, stalled the continuation of the N2 billion money laundering trial again.

Our correspondent had reported that the ongoing trial of Maina was, on Monday, hindered by the absence of the judge and the ex-pension reformed boss.

The court registrar, who announced that the court was indisposed, said the trial would continue the next day.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Maina (1st defendant) before Justice Abang, on Oct. 25, 2019, alongside his son, Faisal; and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.

Although Maina is facing 12-counts bordering on money laundering, he had pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

However, at the resumed trial on Tuesday, though counsel to all the parties were in court, including Sen. Ali Ndume, who is standing as surety for the ex-pension reformed chair, Justice Abang and Maina were conspicuously absent.

The registrar, for the second time, announced that the court would nit be sitting.

According to the registrar, my lord is on official engagement.

He said hearing in all the criminal matters, including the case between the Federal Government and Abdulrasheed Maina would be rescheduled for Oct. 6.

It was reported that Maina was recently released from Kuje Prison nine months after he was able to produce Sen. Ndume, who deposed to an affidavit to always bring the 1st defendant to court at every adjourned date or forfeit the N500 million bail bond.

It was also reported that Ndume, who represents Borno South in the National Assembly, had told the court, on Oct. 2, that he did not know the whereabouts of Maina after the 1st defendant was absent from court for the third time.

The judge, in the last sitting, had ordered Ndume to produce Maina unfailing at today’s (Monday’s) proceeding or he would be forced to grant the EFCC’s prayers to revoke Maina’s bail and issue a warrant of arrest against him.

Besides, the anti-graft agency had also prayed the court to make an order for the lawmaker to forfeit the N500 million bail bond to the Federal Government and be remanded in prison pending the time he was able to meet the pledge.

Taiye Agbaje

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