After the initial setback in fulfilling his bail conditions, Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), has found a senator who is willing to stand as his surety.
Maina, who is standing trial for alleged money laundering, was granted a N1 billion bail but struggled to fulfill his bail condition, including having a senator as his surety.
Moving an application for a further variation of the bail conditions granted to Maina, Joe Gadzama, Maina’s counsel informed the court that Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, has agreed to stand in for Maina.
Gadzama, however, said one condition had not been fully complied with, which is why the defendant is seeking a variation of the bail terms which was previously reviewed.
He said the condition is that of the surety having a certificate of occupancy of a landed property in Abuja.
“In a desperate move to get freedom and liberty, we filed an application before the court of appeal in Abuja,” he said.
“Finally, senator Ndume agreed to stand as a surety which made us withdraw the appeal by filing a notice of discontinuance. The applicant has met all the conditions but only one, which is that the surety must have a certificate of occupancy.
“The surety has submitted a certificate of occupancy of a landed property but it is not In his name. It is in the name of Lawal Ahmed. But the owner is Ndume who purchased it from Lawal Ahmed.
“In addition, there is a certified irrevocable power of attorney by Lawal to Ndume. It is as good as the certificate and supersedes the certificate because it is the latest in time.”
Gadzama said in the federal capital territory (FCT), once a certificate of occupancy is issued in a person’s name by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), that name cannot be changed even when another person acquires the property.
“The only way to show new power of ownership is by issuing irrevocable power of attorney,” he said.
“The court has granted bail earlier and the court would be joyful to see the applicant enjoy the bail.
“The only reason why he is still being incarcerated is that the court said it has to be a certificate of occupancy in the name of the surety. We ask my lord to temper justice with mercy.”
The defence counsel also informed the court of the ill health of his client.
“This gentleman is very sick. He needs to see an ophthalmologist because he cannot see well. He also needs orthopaedic surgery,” the lawyer said.
“It is in the interest of parties and the public whose funds is alleged to have been tampered with for him to live and face trial.
“I urge the court to once more, be magnanimous by further varying the one condition that he has been unable to meet.”
Responding to the submissions of the defence counsel, Farouk Abdulah, lawyer to the prosecution, urged the court to dismiss the application for further variation of the bail terms.
He submitted that a “power of attorney does not convey title”.
“In the case of the FCT, it is only the President that can allocate land to an individual. The minister of the FCT exercises the power on behalf of the president,” he said.
“No individual who has enjoyed the power of allocation from the minister can a lot to himself the power to further allocate or transfer that land to another.”
Okon Abang, the presiding judge, fixed June 29 to deliver a ruling on the defendant’s application.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Maina on 12 counts of money laundering on October 25, 2019.
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