The trial judge, Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered that the ex-chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center pending the conclusion of his trial.
On Friday, Mr Maina’s counsel, Francis Orusanya, withdrew from the case thereby compelling his new counsel, Abel Adaji, to ask for an adjournment to enable him to study and be up to date on the case.
The EFCC counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, prayed the court that Mr Maina be remanded in custody with the Nigerian Correctional Service.
Mr Abubakar reminded the court of a bench warrant it issued against the defendant on November 18.
“We apply for the defendant to be remanded in prison custody pending his trial, his earlier bail having been revoked,” he said.
Mr Abang granted the application for adjournment, adding that the defendant, who is said to be innocent, is entitled to legal representation.
The judge then adjourned the case till December 8 for the continuation of the trial.
Mr Maina is facing a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering by the EFCC.
The former chairperson of the pension task force, who had been absent in court on multiple occasions, was declared wanted when the court believed he had jumped bail.
He was re-arrested in Niamey, Niger Republic through a collaboration between intelligence operatives of Niger and their counterparts in Nigeria
He was extradited back to Nigeria on Thursday for the continuation of his trial.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, a witness, Rouqayyah Ibrahim, told the court that the defendant purchased a property worth $2 million in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that he also purchased properties in Dubai, the United States of America & the UAE.
The witness also added that another witness who testified before the court concerning the said property in the FCT, died from complications from COVID-19 after he had given his statement to the EFCC.
Ms Ibrahim also added that 32 documents including flash drives and hard discs, all containing information about asset and investments belonging to Mr Maina and his family were recovered.
“Particularly in Dubai, investigation revealed that his company, Northrich Company owned over 50 cars that were used for transportation business and he owns a villa in a high ground area in Dubai,” she said.
“His wife Laila Abdulrasheed, also owns cleaning services, called Spotless and Flawless. We also recovered pay slips during our investigation.”
Furthermore, she added that Mr Maina created a bank account for a company he owns; Kangolo Dynamic, which is not in business but he had control of the deposits made in the account even though his name did not appear on the accounts documentation.
Ms Ibrahim said Kangolo Dynamic accounts had N500 million in it during Mr Maina’s tenure as PRTT Chairperson.
She also said that investigations revealed that another company, Colster Logistics, which belonged to Mr Maina had a Fidelity domiciliary account which had over $40,000 deposited in it at the time of the investigation.
In his ruling, Mr Abang upheld the prosecution’s petition, adding that the defendant was offered several opportunities to oppose the documents in evidence as admissible or not but failed to appear in court.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...