A former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, standing trial for alleged theft of pension funds, has explained why he has been absent during court hearings at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Mr Maina, who was first arraigned by the EFCC on October 25, 2019 on a 12-count charge has not been physically present for his trials before Justice Okon Abang.
Mr Maina is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds and is also facing trial for alleged money laundering.
He is being prosecuted by the EFCC and accused of operating fictitious accounts and carrying out fraudulent activities.
The former pension chief, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service last year.
The SSS handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how a North-east senator, Ali Ndume, agreed to act as a guarantor for Mr Maina.
We also reported how the senator told an enraged judge he could not find Mr Maina.
When Mr Ndume was asked six days ago of the whereabouts of Mr Maina, whom the judge said had failed to appear in court for the third time within one week, the senator responded: “My lord, I must confess, I do not know.”
The judge had ordered the lawmaker to provide the suspect at the next hearing.
Mr Maina’s trial was to resume on September, 29, 30 but he failed to appear for the sixth time.
But a video has emerged online showing Mr Maina in leg braces apparently on a bed. In the short video, Mr Maina said he was nursing a knee injury.
He promised to return to court for his trial. He did not disclose the hospital where he was receiving treatment. It was also not clear when the video was shot.
“I am not on the run and have not jumped bail as being speculated by detractors. I am on a hospital bed,” he said. “I am nursing a serious knee injury and the doctor said I need up to 6 to 7 weeks of recovery to be on my feet.”