JUST IN: Court sentences Maina’s son to 24 years’ imprisonment
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday sentenced Faisal, son of the chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, to 24 years’ imprisonment.
Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, held that Mr Maina, who was sentenced in absentia, was guilty of the three-count charge against him.
The judge, who handed down a five-year-jail term for count one bordering on money laundering offence, sentenced Mr Maina to 14 years imprisonment on count two.
The judge, thereafter, sentenced the son of the ex-pension reformed boss to a five-year prison term on count three which bordered on asset declaration offence but ruled that the prison terms would run concurrently.
On July 16, the judge had fixed the matter for judgment after the then EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, adopted the commission”s final written address and urged the court to convict Mr Maina in all the three counts levelled against him, “the prosecution having proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt.”
Mr Faisal’s counsel, A. A. Onoja, who did not file any final written address, had sought an adjournment because he was not briefed on the development in the case.
The EFCC lawyer, however, opposed his plea for an adjournment, arguing that on March 17, when the case was adjourned, Anayo Adibe, who appeared for Mr Maina, did not apply to file any written address, even after the ruling was delivered, saying “four months since that day, the defence has not done anything.”
The judge, who dismissed the application for adjournment, held that the request was made in bad faith. Mr Maina, prosecuted alongside his father, was facing a separate trial on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering. He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The defendant, who the EFCC arraigned on October 25, 2019, was admitted to bail, on November 26, 2019, in the sum of N60 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a member of the House of Representatives.
However, Faisal jumped bail around September 2020 and stopped attending his trial.
On November 25, 2020, the judge summoned lawmaker Sani Dan-Galadima, representing Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara, who stood as surety for Mr Maina, for disregarding the court order to produce the defendant in court after he was granted bail.
The judge then revoked the bail granted to Mr Maina, ordered his arrest, and directed his trial to proceed in absentia.
The judge also ordered the surety to forfeit the property, which he used as a bail bond to the federal government, having failed to produce Faisal.