Senator Ali Ndume has pleaded with Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to withdraw as a surety to former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) Abulrasheed Maina, who is standing trial in a multi-million naira money laundering case.
At the resumed trial of the alleged Pension Funds fugitive by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, Ndume, pleaded with the court to allow him stand down from further acting as a surety to Maina.
Ndume had volunteered to act as Maina’s surety when the court granted him bail in 2019, but when Maina jumped bail, the court was forced to order Ndume’s remand in prison until Maina was rearrested in Niger Republic.
At the resumption of proceedings in the trial, Ndume’s lawyer, Marcel Oru, told the court about a pending application filed by his client on December 15, 2020.
“We are praying the court to discharge the applicant (Ndume) formally as a surety in the matter and for the documents of title that were deposited in court to be released to him, considering the fact that the first defendant, Abdulrasheed Maina, who jumped bail, has been rearrested and is in the custody of the complainant (EFCC),” Oru said.
However, when Justice Abang asked if there was a pending appeal on the case, Oru said there was an appeal, which did not relate to the substantive case.
“Ordinarily, if the appeal has been entered, this court, as presently constituted, will not have jurisdiction to entertain the application.
“But in the present circumstances, considering the intervening circumstances that the defendant (Maina) has been rearrested and is facing his trial before this court now, we are of the opinion that the court can hear the matter, subject to your lordship’s discretion,” he added.
However, the EFCC lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, objected to the hearing of Ndume’s application, contending that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear it because the matter was already before the Court of Appeal.
Abubakar argued that he filed a notice of preliminary objection on December 18, 2020, and prayed the court to dismiss Ndume’s application for being incompetent.
The matter was adjourned till October 4 by Justice Abang for further hearing.
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