The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday accepted the Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, as surety for the bail granted the remanded former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who is being prosecuted on money laundering charges.
This is contained in the Monday’s ruling by Justice Okon Abang granting a second variation of the conditions he attached to the bail granted Maina last year.
The judge had earlier in January, following an application by Maina, amended a part of the ruling reducing the number of serving senators the defendant was required to produce as sureties from two to one.
Maina’s lawyer, Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN), had said at the June 23, 2020 proceedings that Ndume, a serving senator, had agreed to be the defendant’s surety.
But the senior lawyer pleaded with the judge to further vary the bail conditions to allow the senator to tender the Power of Attorney for the proposed property to be used for the bail guarantee instead of the Certificate of Occupancy as stipulated in the bail conditions.
Recall that Maina who hails from Borno State like Ndume, was granted bail by the court on November 26, 2019, but has remained in detention due to his inability to meet the conditions imposed by the court.
His team of lawyers later applied to the court for a review of the bail conditions.
Granting the request in his ruling delivered on January 28, 2020, Justice Abang reduced, among others, the bail sum from N1bn to N500m.
The judge who earlier demanded two serving senators as sureties for the bail, reviewed it to one senator, who must be prepared to accompany him to court every trial date and have property worth N500m in either Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse II, Central Business District or Katampe districts in Abuja.
Still unable to meet the conditions, Maina later filed fresh application for further review of the condition that required him to produce a serving senator as surety.
The judge, however, in his ruling delivered on April 29, 2020, dismissed the application for the second review of the bail conditions.
Having found Ndume as his surety, he again approached the court with another application for the variation of the bail conditions to make the title document held by the senator acceptable by the court.
The Economic Crimes Commission had at the hearing of the application on June 23 opposed it.
Ruling on the application on Monday, Justice Abang held that he was inclined to varying the bail conditions on compassionate grounds, especially that the defendant was able to produce a serving senator as his surety.
The judge said, “That is why I arrived at a senator in standing surety for the 1st defendant, not somebody who does not have stake in the affairs of this country.
“That is why I said I took a risk in admitting him to bail, based on the weighty allegations by EFCC which the 1st defendant did not challenge.”
But in granting the variation of the bail conditions on Monday, the judge rejected the request that the senator be relieved of the need to appear in court with Maina for every proceeding to sign a register.