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Judge, former pension boss absence stall money laundering trial

By News Desk

Efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to proceed on trial of ex-Chairman, Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, at Federal High Court, Abuja, has suffered setbacks after the judge, Okon Abang, and the defendant shunned the court premises.

While Justice Abang and Maina were not in court for the day’s proceeding, which stalled the legal activities, the chairman Senate committee on the army, Ali Ndume, who is standing as surety for the ex-pension reformed boss, was in court.

The EFCC had arraigned Maina, who was the first defendant before the court along with his son, Faisal; and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, barely a year ago.

At the expected sitting on Monday, the court registrar, after litigants in cases scheduled for the day had waited for over an hour, announced that the day’s sitting would not be holding.

“The court is indisposed and all criminal cases slated for today will be adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, including the case between the Federal Government and Abdulrasheed Maina,” the registrar said.

Maina’s absence came months after his release from Kuje prison following his ability to provide a senator who deposed to an affidavit that the suspect would always be brought to court at every adjourned date or forfeit the N500 million bail bond.

Weeks after, Ndume, who represents Borno South in the National Assembly and signed the affidavit, told the court that he does not know the whereabouts of Maina after the defendant shunned the court the third time.

The judge, in the last sitting, had ordered Ndume to produce Maina at the next 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.

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