Breaking News!! Abuja Federal High Court Releases Senator Ali Ndume From Kuje Prison

The Federal High Court in Abuja has released Senator Ali Ndume from Kuje prison. Justice Okon Abang remanded the senator on Monday over his suretyship for Abdulrasheed Maina who has since jumped bail. The judge said he chose to grant the senator bail based on his record of good behavior before the court, notwithstanding that the other grounds of his bail application failed.

The judge granted bail to the senator pending the hearing and determination of Ndume’s appeal filed at the Court of Appeal to challenge Monday’s order sending him to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing Abdulrasheed Maina.

The judge ordered the senator to produce one surety who must be a resident of Abuja and present evidence of ownership of property anywhere in Abuja. According to the judge, the surety must also depose to an affidavit of means to indicate his readiness to forfeit the bail guaranty should the senator jump bail.

The judge also ordered the senator to deposit his passport with the Chief Registrar of the court. He also ordered the lawmaker to file an undertaking that he would compile records of appeal and transmit it to the Court of Appeal within 10 days, which is a way the court wants him to demonstrate his readiness to prosecute his appeal.

Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on charges of money laundering involving N2bn. On November 18, 2020, Justice Abang revoked the bail granted to him, and ordered for his arrest, and also directed that his trial would proceed in absentia.

The judge also on Monday remanded Ndume in prison until he produced Maina or paid the sum of N500m bail bond to the Federation Account. Senator Ndume, through his lawyer, Marcel Oru, had on Tuesday filed an appeal against the remand order at the Court of Appeal, along with an application for the bail of the defendant filed before Justice Abang.

The federal government has meanwhile reached out to the United States and Niger Republic in its efforts to execute the arrest warrant issued by a court in Abuja against an ex-Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, who is believed to have jumped bail.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed this in the counter-affidavit it filed against the bail application filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume.

The court, before which Maina is being tried for money laundering had on November 18 this year revoked the bail granted to him and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

“The prosecution has obtained the bench warrant and it is making frantic efforts to execute it while enlisting the support of other security agencies in the country as well as some foreign governments, particularly the Republic of Niger and the United States of America,” the EFCC said in the counter-affidavit.

The commission urged the court to reject the bail application for Senator Ndume, arguing that it was a ploy for him to evade the consequences of serving as a surety for a fleeing defendant and avoid meeting the condition set by the court for his release.

The court, on November 23, 2020 ordered that Senator Ndume, who stood surety for Maina, be remanded in prison pending when he is either able to produce the defendant or forfeit the N500 million bail bond he signed, having failed to account for Maina’s whereabouts.

Austine Ikeru
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