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UPDATED: Court orders Maina to remain in Kuje prison till end of trial

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By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina be remanded in prison.

In a ruling at the end of proceedings in Maina’s trial on Friday, Justice Okon Abang ordered that Maina, having jumped bail and got rearrested, he will remain in prison custody till the end of his trial.

Justice Abang recalled that Maina’s bail was revoked on November 18 because he jumped bail, prompting the court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest and ordered that the trial should continue in his absence.

The judge noted that Maina, who was brought to court by security agents, was still presumed to be innocent until the contrary was proved.

The judge held that Maina was still entitled to all the constitutional rights under relevant sections of the Constitution, especially with regard to fair hearing.

He granted the request by Maina’s new lawyer, Abel Adaji, for an adjournment to enable him perfect his brief and for him to familiarise himself with the history of the case.

The decision of the court to send Maina to prison was based on an application to that effect by the lead prosecution lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, who noted that since the bench warrant issued against the first defendant (Maina) has been executed by his production in court, the next thing was for the court to order his remand in prison.

Read Also: BREAKING: Court remands Maina in prison till trial ends

Maina’s earlier lawyer, Francis Oronsaye formally applied to withdraw from the case on Friday by moving the application he filed to that effect.

Justice Abang granted it, relying on the provision of Section 349(7) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Oronsaye is the second lawyer to withdraw from Maina’s trial within the last 24 hours.

Adeola Adedipe, who had represented Maina’s company (named as the second defendant in the case) withdrew on Thursday.

The judge adjourned till December 8 for continuation of trial.

Also, the judge also adjourned proceedings in the money laundering case involving Maina’s son, Faisal till December 8 for the hearing of an affidavit filed by the defendant’s surety to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60million bail bond he pledged while taking Faisal on bail.

The court had, last month, on finding that Faisal had jumped bail, ordered the surety, Sani Dan Galadima, a House of Representatives member from Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond.

On Friday, Galadima’s lawyer, Mohammed Sheriff told the court that he has filed an application showing cause, as ordered by the court, but that the prosecution just served him with its response, prompting him to seek the court’s indulgence for him to reply.

Lead prosecution lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar agreed to the state of things as stated by Sheriff.

On what the content of Galadima’s affidavit was, Abubakar said the surety is praying the court to give him time to sell the property, which he pledged as guarantee for the N60m bail bond, to enable him generate the money to be forfeited.

Abubakar added that the lawmaker also claimed that he had always been in court for Faisal’s proceedings even when he jumped bail.

He said the prosecution, in its response, is praying the court to make an order for the immediate forfeiture of the said property.

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