The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, made public its findings on why former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina jumped bail and fled to the Niger Republic.
Maina, who is being tried on money laundering charges before a Federal High Court in Abuja, was late last year, found by the court, to have jumped bail and fled to Niger.
Upon an arrest warrant issued by the court, Maina was later apprehended in the neighbouring country and returned to Nigeria by security agents.
In a fresh court document filed by the EFCC, the agency said Maina “sneaked out to Niger Republic after jumping court bail was to obtain new travel documents at the Embassy of the United States of America, USA, in Niamey to enable him flee back to the USA with his family where he and his family are equally citizens.”
The EFCC added that Maina resorted to going for fresh travel documents because his earlier ones had been deposited with the Registrars of the Federal High Court and the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as part of the conditions attached to the bail granted him last year by both courts.
The anti-graft agency, which filed the document in opposition to a fresh bail application by Maina, cautioned the court against admitting him to bail again in view of his antecedents.
The EFCC faulted Maina’s claim of deteriorating health, and on which he hinged his fresh bail application.
“The first defendant (Maina) did not suffer or undergo any treatment for any health challenge in his knee whether in Nigeria or in Niger Republic,” it said.
The commission noted that it had, on October 2, 2020, filed an affidavit of facts to debunk “the false claims of the first defendant about undergoing treatment of his knee at the Maitama General Hospital, Abuja.”
In the counter-affidavit filed by the lead prosecuting lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, the EFCC prayed the court to reject the bail application.
Maina said, in his application, that he needed time to enable him adequately attend to his deteriorating health condition.
He assured the court that he has “reasonable and responsible sureties’ willing to stand for him if granted bail.
In a supporting affidavit to his bail application, Maina claimed he went to Niger to attend to his health.
One of his lawyers, Evelyn Dele, said, in the supporting affidavit, that the “most urgent of his health challenge is his knee which required urgent surgery, or risk his leg being amputated.
“In October 2020, he was absent during his trial because he had to undergo a medical procedure on his knee, this was communicated to the honourable court, but discountenanced, his bail revoked and his arrest was ordered.
“As a result of the order for his arrest, he decided to seek for a better medical facility for the treatment of his knee, and was eventually referred to Military Hospitals in Chad Republic and Niger Republic, where the knee surgery was successfully carried out.
“He was recuperating from the surgery when the authorities arrested him and returned him to Abuja, where he was taken into custody. |
“He did not violate the terms of his bail, but only sought for medical attention or risk the amputation of his knee.
“As a result of his re-arrest and taking into custody, his medical condition has rapidly deteriorated.
“There is no health facility at the Correctional Centre where he is being kept, and as such he is receiving no medical attention whatsoever.
“Except the honourable court grants this application and orders his release on bail for the purpose of receiving urgent medical attention, he fears for his life.”
Source: The Nation