The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, refused to grant fresh bail to the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Taskforce Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
Ruling on the matter, the judge, Okon Abang, said Mr Maina, who jumped bail last year, “has disappointed the court,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
He said the defendant, who is being prosecuted for laundering N2billion in pension funds, failed to place sufficient materials before the court to support his fresh application for bail.
Dismissing the application, the judge held that the application lacked merit.
Mr Maina, earlier granted bail by the judge, evaded trial and fled to the Republic of Niger last year.
The defendant, whose escape landed his surety, Ali Ndume, a serving senator, in jail for few days, was later apprehended after the court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Mr Maina was brought back to court on December 4, 2020, even though the judge had ensured his trial continued in his absence.
He had barely spent three weeks in remand when he filed another bail application on December 24, asking for fresh bail, anchored on his alleged deteriorating health.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the anti-corruption agency prosecuting him before Mr Abang, had opposed the fresh bail application, insisting that the man was not deserving of a second chance.
No justification for fresh bail’
Mr Abang ruled on Thursday that Mr Maina was a flight risk, having fled to the Republic of Niger and Chad in violation of the court’s terms and conditions for the previous bail granted him.
The judge said the medical report of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital. which he presented to back his claim of a condition that could only be looked after outside prison walls, rather, showed that “was not under any medical emergency”.
The judge similarly rejected Mr Maina’s application for an order directing the EFCC to release his confiscated property, including a BMW car.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the hearing of Mr Maina’s fresh bail application on February 19.
EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, at the hearing, urged the court to dismiss it, insisting that that the defendant did not deserve a second chance.
Mr Abubakar said the affidavit filed by the defendant in support of the bail application showed that he took the premeditated decision to jump bail and showed no remorse about it.
“The 1st defendant/applicant (Maina), without any remorse, stated in paragraph 9 of his affidavit that, as a result of the order for his arrest, he decided to seek a better medical facility for the treatment of his knee and was eventually referred to a military hospital in Chad Republic and Niger Republic where the knee surgery was successfully carried out,” Mr Abubakar said.
The prosecutor said the implication of Mr Maina’s claim was that “his jumping bail was a premeditated decision.”
“It was a decision he took by himself in disobedience to the gracious order of this honourable court in releasing him on bail,” he added.
‘Secret trip to Chad revealed’
He noted that Mr Maina, by his claim in his affidavit, unwittingly confessed to travelling to the Republic of Chad, a fact hitherto unknown to the prosecution.
Mr Maina embarked on the trips despite the fact that his American and Nigerian passports were already seized by the court as part of the bail conditions earlier granted him.
“It is also clear by this paragraph that while we thought that the 1st defendant applicant fled to Niger Republic, he is now informing the court that he also went to Chad Republic while his American and Nigerian passports are in custody of the court,” he said.
‘Trip to save me from amputation’
But Mr Maina had stated in his fresh bail application that his leg would have been amputated if he did not travel to Niger Republic for medical care.
Earlier, whilst giving reasons for Mr Maina’s bail application on Friday, his lawyer, Sani Katu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, urged the court to grant fresh bail to Mr Maina, to enable him to attend to his “deteriorating health”.
He also gave an assurance that his client would not abuse the privilege.
EFCC, had also on February 4, informed the judge, that Maina’s son, Faisal Maina, who is also standing trial on money laundering charges before the same judge, had jumped bail and fled to the U.S.