A former chairman of Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has been released from Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja, nine months after his arrest.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Maina before Okon Abang, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja, on October 25, 2019.
He was arraigned alongside Faisal, his son, and firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.
In an interview with NAN, Adeola Adedipe, Maina’s lawyer, said his client was released on Monday evening after completing the necessary documents for his bail.
Adedipe said his client ought to have been released on July 24 but it was delayed due to administrative procedures.
“It was already late last week Friday so they now have a new timeline shifted at 6 O’clock. We went there and everything was done,” he said.
On why Maina had been kept in detention after Abang further varied his bail conditions on June 29, the lawyer said: “It was also administrative. There were lapses here and there; the transmission of processes from one department of government to another.”
Adedipe expressed delight over his client’s release, saying it would not only afford him the opportunity to get adequate medical attention but also enable him prepare for trial.
“We can only thank God and this is good for us because we will now have time to prepare for his defence; we will now have good conferencing on the matter,” he said.
“We will have a better perspective of what the case is all about. And this will also allow him to treat himself you know he has been very ill in order to stand the trial.”
Afam Osigwe, another counsel of Maina, also confirmed his release from the correctional centre.
“Yes, Maina came out yesterday (Monday). We have met all the bail conditions but they did not release him until yesterday,” he said.
Through Joe Gadzama, another of his lawyer, Maina had on June 23, informed the court that Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, had decided to stand as surety for him.
Ndume, who is the chairman, senate committee on army, had, in a statement on June 24, admitted standing as surety for Maina.
He said it took him six months of “painful consideration” to agree to be a surety for Maina, and that it was part of the cross he had to carry as Maina’s elected senator.
Abang had varied Miana’s bail conditions, following his inability to meet the terms granted to him on November 26, 2019.
Abang reduced Maina’s bail condition from N1 billion to N500 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a serving senator as opposed to the earlier order of producing two serving senators.
The judge ruled that the surety, who should not have a criminal case pending in any court, must have a landed property fully developed in Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse II, Katampe or central business district of Abuja, with a certificate of occupancy attached as evidence.
Maina had been unable to get a senator as surety until Ndume agreed to do so.
Abang, who had, on June 29, considered the arguments of parties, said it was within the court’s jurisdiction to either grant bail by vacating the existing conditions or grant new conditions.
Maina was charged with 12 counts bordering on money laundering but he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.