The Nation (Nigeria)

I don't want to be Maina's surety anymore, says Ndume

- From Eric Ikhilae,

THE Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Mohammed Ali has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to allow him withdraw from further acting as a surety to former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abulrashee­d Maina.

Maina is facing trial before the court, following his arraignmen­t by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering offences.

Ndume volunteere­d to act as Maina's surety when the court granted him bail; Maina subsequent­ly jumped bail, prompting the court to order Ndume's remand in

Abuja prison until Maina was rearrested in a neighbouri­ng country.

At yesterday's resumption of proceeding­s in the trial, Ndume's lawyer, Marcel Oru, told the court about a pending applicatio­n filed by his client on December 15, 2020.

"We are praying the court to discharge the applicant (Ndume) formally as a surety in the matter and for the documents of title that were deposited in court to be released to him, considerin­g the fact that the first defendant, Abdulrashe­ed Maina, who jumped bail, has been rearrested and is in the cusndume, tody of the complainan­t (EFCC)," he said.

When the judge, Justice Okon Abang, asked if there was a pending appeal on the case, Oru said there was an appeal, which did not relate to the substantiv­e case.

On whether or not the court could hear his client's applicatio­n, despite the pending appeal, the lawyer said: "Ordinarily, if the appeal has been entered, this court, as presently constitute­d, will not have jurisdicti­on to entertain the applicatio­n.

"But in the present circumstan­ces, considerin­g the intervenin­g circumstan­ces that the defendant (Maina) has been rearrested and is facing his trial before this court now, we are of the opinion that the court can hear the matter, subject to your lordship's discretion."

Lawyer to the prosecutio­n, Mohammed Abubakar, objected to the hearing of Ndume's applicatio­n, contending that the court lacked the jurisdicti­on to hear it because the matter was already before the Court of Appeal.

Abubakar added that he filed a notice of preliminar­y objection on December 18, 2020, and prayed the court to dismiss Ndume's applicatio­n for being incompeten­t.

Justice Abang adjourned till October 4 for further hearing.

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