Following conditions of the bail granted to Abdulrasheed Maina, by Justice Okon Abang on November 25, 2019, the embattled ex-chairman on Monday pleaded with the court to soften the bail conditions, as they were “excessive and stringent.”
The former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team had earlier been directed to produce two serving senators with landed properties worth N500m each in Maitama or Asokoro, two highbrow areas of Abuja, to guarantee the N1bn bail sum.
Maina, who is standing trial on charges of money laundering involving N2bn, therefore, appealed to the Federal High Court in Abuja to drop some of the conditions attached to the N1bn bail.
The former chairman, who was arraigned along with his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, has been remanded in an Abuja prison since October last year due to his inability to meet the bail.
The conditions also include that he deposits his United States passports with the chief registrar of the court, pending the conclusion of the trial.
Also that the sureties to be produced by Maina must undertake to appear in court with him at every trial date, pending the conclusion of the case while adding that should at least one of the defendants fail to appear with Maina at any court sitting, the bail would be revoked.
Maina, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had through his lawyer, Mr Afam Osigwe on December 6, 2019, said while his client had met other conditions, it had been impossible for him to get senators to serve as the sureties.
Mr Osigwe, on Monday, while commending the judge for granting bail to his client, said the bail conditions were “excessive and impossible to meet.”
He added: “The stringent and excessive nature of the conditions is evidenced by the inability of the first defendant/applicant (Maina) to meet those conditions as of today, January 13, 2020.”
The defendant's lawyer further said: “The conditions he is unable to meet are set out in paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed in support."
He further stressed, “The sureties (proposed) whose names are also mentioned said they do not have properties worth N500m in either Asokoro or Maitama.”
However, the judge responded by questioning if the defence team had conducted a search of the land registry in Abuja to confirm the claim of the proposed sureties.
He noted that the conditions were attached to the bail for a reason, adding that the defence team, which argued the bail application in November last year failed to challenge EFCC’s claim that Maina was no longer resident in Nigeria.