Justice Okon Abang did not bat an eyelid to send former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abulrasheed Maina, back to jail until the end of his trial; neither did anyone venture to raise an objection when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ((EFCC) made the application in court on Fridat.
“So he shall be remanded in correctional center pending the conclusion of the trial”, Abang declared 24 hours after the defendant in the N2 billion money laundering trial was flown from Niger Republic to Nigeria.
He had jumped an earlier bail, putting his Senator, Ali Ndume, who stood surety for him in trouble, three days in jail, and standing the risk of losing N500 million.
As he was landing the Abuja airport on Thursday from his hideout in Niger Republic, his trial in absentia was on with revelations of property he acquired in Abuja, Dubai, and the USAl. The Abuja property is put at $2 million.
Adaji Abel, his new counsel pleaded on Friday, as Maina was preparing for jail, for an adjournment to enable him prepare adequately for the case.
Abang agreed and adjourned till December 8.
Recall that on Thursday, a witness, Rouqoyah Ibrahim, an EFCC detective revealed that a prosecution witness, Adamu Modibbo, who testified to the EFCC regarding the said Jabi, Abuja property, allegedly died of Covid-19 after his statement to the Commission.
She also revealed that about 32 documents, hard discs and flash drives relating to properties linked to Maina and his family and details of some of his investments in Dubai and in the US were recovered from him.
“Particularly in Dubai, investigation revealed that his company, Northrich Company owned over 50 cars that were used for transportation business and he owns a villa in a High Ground area in Dubai. His wife Laila Abdurrasheed also owns cleaning services, called Spotless and Flawless. We also recovered pay slips during our investigation,” she said.
The witness also disclosed that investigation proved that another of Maina’s company, Kangolo Dynamic does no business but that the defendant created a bank account for it in which his name did not appear anywhere on the account documentation even though he was in control of all the deposits in it.
She also told the court that investigation showed that Colster Logistics, belonging to Maina had a Fidelity Bank dollar account which had an inflow of over $400,000, 00 (Four Hundred Thousand Dollars) from cash deposits as at the time the company was investigated.
She further told the court that over N500 million was discovered in the account of Kangolo Dynamic, within the years Maina was chairman, PRTT.
According to the witness, in the course of the investigation, letters were written to the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, to verify the authenticity of the driver’s license used in opening some of the accounts; Code of Conduct Bureau ( CCB) for Maina’s declared assets; Federal Civil Service Commission, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF) and Accontant General of the Federation, (AGF), to confirm if Maina was still a civil servant and for his pay slips.
Also written was the Federal Inland Revenue Service,FIRS, for the tax returns of his companies and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for the registration documentation of the companies and their annual returns.
All the documents and written responses of the government agencies were tendered as exhibits with prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar, praying the court to foreclose the right of the defendants to respond to the admissibility of the documents; hence they had no legal representation.
Justice Abang upheld the prosecution’s prayer, noting that opportunity was offered to the defendants to be in court to oppose the admissibility of the document in evidence, but they failed to appear and also failed to engage counsel of their choice.