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Court orders arrest of ex-pension boss, Maina, trial in absentia

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the arrest of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, following his repeated failure to appear for continuation of his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang who made the order in Wednesday’s ruling, also revoked the bail earlier granted the fleeing defendant.

He however ordered all security agencies in the country to arrest Maina “wherever he may be found” and produce him in court, “without delay”, adding that the defendant’s trial would proceed in his absence pending when the defendant would be produced in court.

He made the orders following the applications by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar.

The court agreed with Abubakar, who cited sections 184 and 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, to back his prayers, That the absence of Maina from the proceedings of September 29, 30, October 2, and 19, 2020 as well as Wednesday without any reasonable excuse was enough reasons to make the orders, PUNCH reported.

“He cannot hold the court at ransom,” the judge said.

He fixed November 23 for Maina’a surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to appear in court to show cause why he should not be remanded in prison and forfeit his N500m bail bond pending when he would be able to produce the defendant.

Senator Ndume had on October 2 when the matter came up for trial, informed the court that he does not know the whereabouts of the Defendant. Ndume lamented before the court that all his efforts to locate the 1st Defendant proved abortive, and further begged the court to issue an arrest warrant to enable security operatives to track down and apprehend Maina.

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