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Ndume accepts to stand as surety for alleged pension thief, Maina

A former Nigerian Senate Leader, Ali Ndume has accepted to stand as surety for Abdulrasheed Maina, the ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina over alleged money laundering.

The former PRTT boss has since been granted bail but had been unable to fulfill his bail conditions, which among other things, said a senator should stand as his surety.

But, at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday, counsel to Maina, Joe Gadzama, moving an application for a further variation of the bail conditions granted to his client, said that Senator Ndume, who represents Borno South, had agreed to stand in as surety for Maina.

He however, said that Maina was still short of meeting one of the conditions, a reason Gadzama said, made him to still seek a further variation of the bail terms, which was previously reviewed.

The said the condition his client was still finding difficult was getting a surety with a certificate of occupancy of a landed property in Abuja.

“In a desperate move to get freedom and liberty, we filed an application before the court of appeal in Abuja.

“Finally, senator Ndume agreed to stand as a surety which made us withdraw the appeal by filing a notice of discontinuance. The applicant has met all the conditions but only one, which is that the surety must have a certificate of occupancy.

“The surety has submitted a certificate of occupancy of a landed property but it is not In his name. It is in the name of Lawal Ahmed. But the owner is Ndume who purchased it from Lawal Ahmed.

“In addition, there is a certified irrevocable power of attorney by Lawal to Ndume. It is as good as the certificate and supersedes the certificate because it is the latest in time,” Gadzama said.

He told the court that in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), once a certificate of occupancy had been issued in a person’s name by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), that the name would not be changed even when another person purchased the property.

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He said, “The only way to show new power of ownership is by issuing irrevocable power of attorney,” he said.

“The court has granted bail earlier and the court would be joyful to see the applicant enjoy the bail.

“The only reason why he is still being incarcerated is that the court said it has to be a certificate of occupancy in the name of the surety. We ask my lord to temper justice with mercy.”

Gadzama added, “This gentleman (Maina) is very sick. He needs to see an ophthalmologist because he cannot see well. He also needs orthopaedic surgery,” the lawyer said.

“It is in the interest of parties and the public whose funds is alleged to have been tampered with for him to live and face trial.

“I urge the court to once more, be magnanimous by further varying the one condition that he has been unable to meet.”

In his response, the defense counsel, Farouk Abdulah, asked the court to dismiss the application for further variation of the bail terms.

Submitting that a “power of attorney does not convey title,” Abdullah added:

“In the case of the FCT, it is only the President that can allocate land to an individual. The minister of the FCT exercises the power on behalf of the president,” he said.

“No individual who has enjoyed the power of allocation from the minister can allocate to himself the power to further allocate or transfer that land to another.”

After listening to them, the presiding judge, Okon Abang, slated June 29 to deliver a ruling on the defendant’s application.

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