The Federal High Court in Abuja has slated Thursday to hear a bail application Senator Ali Ndume filed to secure his release from the Kuje Correctional Center.
The court had on Monday, remanded the lawmaker who is representing Borno South Senatorial District in custody following his failure to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, whom he stood surety for.
Maina is answering to a 12-count money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and a firm, Common Input Properties & Investment Limited.
EFCC alleged that he used account of the firm and laundered funds to the tune of about N2 billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.
It told the court that the ex-Pension boss used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, as well as recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channelled.
Trial Justice Okon Abang remanded Ndume in custody for failing to explain the whereabouts of the Defendant. He held that the surety would remain in detention pending when he produced Maina or paid his N500 million bail bond into the Federation Account.
The court equally gave EFCC the nod to try the Defendant in absentia. At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Wednesday, the trial Judge said his attention was drawn to Ndume’s bail application around 8:58 am.
Justice Abang said he had promptly directed the court clerk to fix the application for hearing on Thursday.
Though Ndume’s lawyer was not in court, however, counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, confirmed that he was served with both the bail application and hearing notice.
Already, Ndume has approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to challenge his detention in prison custody.
In the 12 grounds of appeal he lodged through his lawyer, Mr M. E. Oru, the embattled lawmaker insisted that he was denied fair hearing by trial Justice Abang.
Ndume argued that the court denied him the opportunity to show cause why he should not be punished over Maina’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed December 4 for a member of the House of Representatives for Kaura Namoda Federal Constituency, Umar Dan Galadima, who stood surety for Maina’s son, Faisal, to show cause why he should not be remanded or made to forfeit N60 million bail bond to FG.
Though Galadima appeared before the court on Wednesday, his lawyer, Mohammed Sheriff, pleaded for a short adjournment to enable him to file the necessary processes.
The sheriff who told the court that he was just briefed by the surety, said his client would also need a chance to meet Maina’s wife to persuade her to make her son available for his trial.
The lawyer told the court that it was Maina’s wife that begged his client to come to their rescue after all other members of the House of Reps declined to appear as surety for the Defendant.
Maina’s son is answering to a separate three-court money laundering charge that was preferred against him by the EFCC.
The anti-graft agency alleged that he had sometimes between 2013 and 2019, received the sum of N58.11million, being proceeds of a corrupt act by his father.
He was also accused of failing to properly declare his assets before the EFCC. The court earlier ordered the arrest of the Defendant after he repeatedly failed to appear for his trial.
Following an order the court made for the Defendant to be tried in absentia, EFCC, on Wednesday, November 25, 2020, closed its case against him after its third witness testified.