The Federal High Court in Abuja has reduced the bail conditions of N1bn and two sureties it imposed on former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The bail conditions were on Tuesday, reduced to the sum of N500m and one surety
Recall, Maina is facing corruption charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He is standing trial along with his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, on charges of money laundering involving N2bn of pension funds.
He was formerly granted bail on November 26, 2019, with conditions Maina and his lawyer declared as too high to meet.
However, following Maina’s application for a review of the bail conditions granted by the court on November 26, 2019, Justice Okon Abang reduced the sum from N1bn to N500m.
The court also modified the aspect of the earlier ruling requiring the defendant to produce two sureties (two serving senators who owned landed assets worth N500m each in the highbrow Asokoro or Maitama, Abuja), thereby bringing it to one surety.
Maina had through his application filed on December 6, 2019, and argued by his lawyer, Mr Afam Osigwe, on January 13, 2020, urged the court to vary the aspects of the conditions requiring him to provide two senators with properties worth a total of N1bn in Asokoro or Maitama, Abuja.
Justice Abang, who gave the ruling on the application, held that although Maina did not provide sufficient materials to warrant varying the bail conditions, he only reluctantly granted the defendant’s request in view of his changed conduct.
He further held that he took a risk by granting the bail to Maina in view of defence counsel’s failure to challenge the part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s counter-affidavit that the defendant could easily jump bail.
Justice Abang in his ruling said, “I have watched the defendant at recent proceedings. I can see that he is now calm and has not interrupted proceedings again, unlike when he was arraigned. Maybe because he has now realised that the court is here to do justice.”
However, he said, “I reluctantly grant the application varying the bail conditions in accordance with my powers under Section 6(6)(b) of the Constitution.”
With the court’s ruling on Tuesday, the defendant will now have to provide only one serving senator with property worth N500m in either Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II, Central Business District or Katampe, Abuja.