Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday gave Senator Ali Ndume 21 days to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina.
Maina who was granted bail after Ndume stood as a surety for him has been absent from over 10 scheduled trial sessions since September 2020.
The judge told Maina that he would order his detention if he fails to produce Maina in 21 days, on November 18.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Senator Ndume, had separately urged the court to order Maina’s arrest on Monday.
The judge however noted that he could not order the arrest of Maina until he ordered the detention of his surety, Ndume.
He consequently gave Senator Ndume 3 weeks to find and produce Maina in court.
Ndume had told the court that he could no longer find Maina. The senator represents Borno South Senatorial District where the suspect hails from.
The prosecuting counsel, Farouk Abdullah, had told the judge that Maina had jumped bail, adding that he was not admitted at the hospital where he claimed to be receiving treatment.
He urged the court to revoke the bail granted to Maina, order Senator Ndume to pay the N500million bail sum backing the bail bond he entered into to secure the bail granted to Maina, and also order for the trial of the defendant to proceed in the absence of the defendant as stipulated in Section 352(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Maina’s defendant, Francis Oronsaye, when asked about his client’s whereabouts, he said the information he had was that he client was on hospital admission after undergoing surgery.
The judge asked Ndume about Maina’s whereabouts, but he noted that he had done everything he could to locate him, but failed.
“I understand that the defendant is in Abuja and I did all I can to locate him without any definite result,” Ndume said.
He noted that he had reported the defendant to the Director-General of the Department of State Service, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Investigations.
Senator Ndume consequently asked the court to issue a warrant for Maina’s arrest.
“Even if I see Maina today, I can’t force him to come to court”
“I am appealing to you to issue a warrant on him,” he added.
Senator Ndume expressed regret for agreeing to stand as Maina’s surety, adding that the former governors of Abia, Plateau and Taraba states, Orji Uzor Kalu, Joshua Dariye, and Jolly Nyame, made him agree to stand as Maina’s surety.
He told the court that it took him 8 months to take the decision to stand Maina’s surety.
“It took me eight months my lord to take that decision. In fact, I had to be given an indemnity by his uncle; signed by me, he and a lawyer that Maina would always be in court,” he added.
Justice Abang however noted that he could not order Maina’s arrest without ordering Senator Ndume’s detention.