BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Following a passionate plea by counsel to the former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Force (PRTF), Abdulrasheed Maina, the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday varied the initial conditions attached to the bail granted him.
Justice Okon Abang, who is handling Maina’s trial on charges of money laundering, granted him conditional bail on November 25, 2019.
Among the bail conditions were that Maina endorsed a bond of N1 billion and also produced two sureties, who being serving Senators, must attend court at every subsequent proceeding.
However, Maina later returned to the Court with a prayer for variation, on the grounds that the conditions were too stringent to fulfill.
In his ruling on the plea, Justice Abang reduced the bail bond to N500million for Maina, who he said, should now produce a single surety, who must be a serving Senator.
Justice Abang said given the facts before the Court as presented by his lawyer, Maina’s application ought not to have been granted.
“But in the past few adjournments, I watched the conduct of the defendant. He is calm and has not interrupted the proceedings of the court. Maybe he has realised that the court is bound to do justice in the case.
“I am inclined, though reluctantly, to vary the bail conditions in this matter,” Justice Abang said
He therefore reduced the bail bond to N500 million, adding that Maina should also produce a single surety who must be a serving senator.
According to him, the surety must not have a criminal case pending in court and must have a landed property fully developed in any of the FCT”s highbrow areas of either Asokoro, Central Business District (CBD), Maitama, Katampe or Wuse 2, in Abuja.
Also, the Judge ordered that the surety must accompany the defendant to court on all trial dates and must sign an attendance register, which would be opened for that purpose.
He however said that having been sighted by the registrar, the surety would be permitted to leave the Court for his legislative duties or other daily activities after signing the attendance register.
Before the Court adjourned further proceedings to Thursday, February 6, 2020, the prosecution called one of its witnesses to testify for a while.