14th January, 2020
Afam Osigwe, the legal counsel to Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) has said his client is finding it hard to fulfill his bail conditions.
The former PRTT boss who is standing trial on 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, was granted a N1 billion bail was granted bail by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Asides the N1 billion bail, Maina who was ordered to deposit all his travel passports, including American, Nigerian and diplomatic passports, was also asked to provide sureties with properties worth N500m naira each. Both sureties must be serving Nigerian Senators with no criminal cases before the court.
Maina is facing trial on alleged money laundering charge to the tune of over N2 billion preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
At the resumed trial on Monday January 13, Afam Osigwe made a bail variation application for his client. He also disclosed that two senators who indicated interest to stand as sureties, said they neither have properties in either Asokoro or Maitama worth the amount specified by the court.
When asked if he obtained documents containing the information of landowners in Abuja from the land registry, Maina’s lawyer said ‘No’ as the land registry treats such documents as confidential.
Osigwe further said; “To even conduct a search on an identified property, the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), would not permit you to do so unless you produce the original titled document together with a letter of consent.
“When you approach a person to be your surety and the person says I don’t have this property, I think it would be disrespectful to go behind investigating whether what the person has told you is true.”
Responding to the application, Justice Okon Abang stated that Maina failed to disprove claims of being a flight risk defendant as he no longer resides in Abuja. He also averred that documents backing the claims of the potential sureties should have been brought to court.
“The court did not fix those conditions for fun. The court has reasons for imposing those conditions. So, if you want the court to vary it, convincingly, you have to establish the fact that the applicant is unable to comply with those conditions,” Okon said.
Maina’s counsel however defended his client by revealing that his travel passports has already been seized by EFCC and deposited before a high court in Gwagwalada.
The case was adjourned till today (Tuesday January 14), for resumed hearing on the former PRTT boss’ bail application.