By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has agreed to stand as a surety for Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting the former Pension boss for alleged money laundering suit.
At the resumed trial yesterday, counsel to Maina, Joe Gadzama, informed the court that his client has fulfilled all conditions for bail which includes getting a senator to stand as a surety for him.
Gadzama however, moved another application for further variation for bail conditions for the defendant.
He noted that one condition has not been fully complied with which is why the defendant is seeking a variation of the bail terms which was previously varied.
“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 good as the certificate and supersedes the certificate because it is the latest in time.’’
Gadzama further explained that in federal capital territory (FCT), once a certificate of occupancy is issued in a person’s name by the federal capital development authority (FCDA), that name cannot be changed even when another person acquires the property.
“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 incasserated is because the court said it has to be a certificate of occupancy in the name of the surety.
“We ask my lord to tamper justice with mercy.”
The defence counsel also informed the court of the ill health of his client.
“This gentle man is very sick. He needs to see an optamologist because he cannot see well. He also needs an orthopedic surgery,” the lawyer stated.
“It is in the interest of parties and the public whose funds is alleged to have been tempered 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 responds, the prosecution counsel Farouk Abdulah, pray the court to dismiss the application for further variation of the bil terms.
He submitted that a “power of attorney does not convey title”.
“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.
“No individual who has enjoyed thie power of allocation from the minister can a lot to himself the power to further allocate or transfer that land to another.”
Abdulah also pointed out that in the affidavits in support of the defendant’s application for variation, reveals that the surety would be unable to report to court and sign a register at every date fixed for trial as ordered by the court.
“We state that the application is unmeritorious and ought to be dismissed and that the conditions given by this court should be strictly complied with,’’ he concluded.
After listening to both parties, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang fixed June 29 for ruling on Tue application.