The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the arrest of former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, following his repeated failure to appear for the continuation of his trial on money laundering charges.
The court, in a ruling by trial Justice Okon Abang, revoked the bail it earlier granted to the Defendant who is facing a 12-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and a firm, Common Input Properties and Investment Limited and also ordered all security agencies in the country to arrest Maina “wherever he may be found” and produce him in court, “without delay”.
The judge also ordered that the defendant’s trial would proceed in his absence pending when the defendant would be produced in court.
He fixed 23 November for Maina’a surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to appear in court to show cause why he should not be remanded in prison and forfeit his N500m bail bond pending when he would be able to produce the defendant.
The orders followed an application the EFCC made pursuant to sections 184 and 335(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015. The court agreed with the EFCC that Maina’s absence from his trial on four successive dates was without cogent or verifiable evidence.
It will be recalled that Maina spent over seven months on remand at the Kuje Correctional Center before the court released on bail after Senator Ndume agreed to stand surety for him.
EFCC alleged that he used the account of the firm and laundered funds to the tune of about N2 billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, EFCC, alleged that the ex-Pension boss used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, as well as recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channelled.
The ex-Pension boss, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Though the prosecution has already opened its case and called witnesses that included bankers and Maina’s relatives, who testified and tendered exhibits in evidence before the court, the Defendant, since 29 September, failed to make a further appearance in the matter with all efforts to locate the defendant has proved abortive.