From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has convicted and sentenced Faisal Maina, son of the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to 14 years imprisonment.
While the court sentenced the defendant to five years in counts 1 and 3 of the charge, he was sentenced to 14 years on count 2 of the charge.
The court held that it found Maina guilty on all three counts of money laundering offences, ruling the sentence would run concurrently, starting from Thursday.
Consequently, the court ordered that the 21-year-old Faisal, who had since June 24, 2020, failed to appear for his trial, should be arrested anywhere he is found in Nigeria and remanded in any Correctional Service Centre to serve his jail term immediately.
It further held that in the event that the defendant is traced to anywhere outside the country, the Federal Government ‘shall legally or lawfully commence extradition proceeds to bring him into the country to serve the jail term.’
Sentencing judge Justice Abang also ordered that the company through which the fund was laundered, Alhaji Faisal Farm 2, be wound up, with funds in it forfeited to the government.
The judge further held that the prosecution agency (EFCC) successfully established that Faisal, operated a fictitious bank account with the United Bank for Africa, UBA, through which his father, Maina, laundered the sum of N58.1million.
The court noted that the said fund which was deposited into the account that was operated in the name of Alhaji Faisal Farm 2, was sequentially withdrawn by the defendant and his father, between October 2013 and June 2019.
Justice Abang said he was satisfied that the EFCC proved all the essential ingredients of the charge, stressing that the defendant reasonably ought to have known that inflows into the bank account formed proceeds of an unlawful act of corruption by his father.
The court had on November 24, 2020, issued a bench warrant for security agencies to arrest Faisal wherever he is found, shortly after his bail was revoked.
The EFCC closed its case against him after it called three witnesses that testified in the matter.
It alleged that Faisal had some time between 2013 and 2019 received the sum of N58.11 million, being proceeds of a corrupt act by his father.
He was also accused of failing to properly declare his assets before the EFCC.
Faisal had reportedly pulled a gun to challenge operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS that arrested his father at a hotel in Abuja on September 30, 2019.
The EFCC had earlier told the court that it received intelligence that Faisal had escaped to the United States.