By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday, informed why he has not been physically present for his ongoing trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) is prosecuting Maina, on a 12-count charge of allege fraud, abuse of public office and money laundering amounting to N2billion.
According to the prosecution agency, Maina abused his position as Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team by awarding fictitious contracts for purported biometric enrollment of pensioners, an offense that is punishable under Section 317(read in conjunction with section 316) of the Penal Code Act, Cap532, vol. 4, Laws of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, 2007.
However, since the end of judges’ vacation on September 27, Maina’s trial before Justice Okon Abang has not hold due to his physical absence in court.
The former Pension boss trial should have resume on the 29th and 30th of September, 2020, but since then, he has not been able to be in court for 6 times.
However, in a recorded video interview made available to newsmen on Thursday, Maina said he has been bedridden.
“I am not on the run and have not jumped bail as being speculated by detractors. I am on a hospital bed, Maina said.
But Maina did not disclose the name of the hospital where he is presently on admission.
“I am nursing a serious knee injury and the Doctor said I need up to 6 to 7 weeks of recovery to be on my feet.
Maina assured that as soon as he recovers from the knee injury, he will return to court to face his case.
On the other hand, since October 5, Justice Abang has not sat due to undisclosed reason.
His court registrar told counsel and litigants in the affected dates that Justice Abang “is indisposed and will not not be sitting”.
Recall that Maina’s kinsmen had noted with dismay how Justice Abang frowned at his absence in court despite the fact that their brother had tendered a medical report from Maitama District Hospital through his lawyer, showing that he has been critically ill.
In view of this development, the kinsmen through their spokesman, Aliyu Maina accused Justice Abang of being biased in his treatment of the suit filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They said “it is only a healthy person that can face his trial alive”.
“A careful observation of the proceedings so far clearly reveals that the trial judge has descended into the arena of conflict” Maina’s kinsmen alleged.