Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, refused to revoke the bail it granted the Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina.
Justice Okon Abang in his judgment, also rejected an application by Maina for a further variation of the conditions attached to the bail granted him on November 26, 2019.
Abang who delivered the two rulings rejected the motion brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the revocation on Maina’s bail on the ground that it was premature for the court to take a definite position on the issue in the absence of any evidence.
The anti- graft agency had alleged that Maina had perfected plans to escape from custody and assassinate the prosecuting lawyer and prosecution’s witnesses.
Justice Abang held that there is no evidence before the court that the allegation by the prosecution have been established by any security agency.
The judge said the request to revoke Maina’s bail could not be granted because investigation of the allegations had not been concluded since Maina claimed he had not been questioned by any security agency on the allegations.
“No matter the gravity of the allegation against the 1st defendant (Maina), it remains allegations, not yet proved. Should the court proceed to grant the prosecution’s request, it will amount to denying the defendant fair hearing when the investigation was still on, and the defendant had not been heard on the issue.
“I have no option than to believe the 1st defendant that security agencies have not heard from him.
“There is no proof before the court that the defendant has threatened the life of the prosecution counsel and his witnesses,” the judge said.
He rejected the EFCC’s request for an order directing that additional security be provided around Maina, currently being held at the Kuje correctional centre, Abuja.
Justice Abang noted that, since the executive arm controls all security agencies and the prosecuting agency, it could easily provide additional security if it feels such measure was necessary, without any order of the court.
“This application, at this stage, to the extent that investigation are yet to be concluded, is incompetent. Whether it lacked merit or not cannot be determined at this stage, because investigation is still on, the defendant having not been heard by security agents on the allegations,” the judge said as he proceeded to strike out the application.
In the second ruling, Justice Abang, rejected the request by Maina for a further review of the conditions attached to the bail granted him on November 26, 2019.
Maina said he has not been able to meet the conditions attached to the bail, because of the stringent nature of the conditions, which included that he produce a serving Senator.
Upon an earlier application for review, the court, in a ruling on January 28, varied the conditions, which Maina said, in another application for review, filed on February 10, he could not meet.
In the ruling, yesterday, Justice Abang, faulted the latest application for review and held that it was unmeritorious.
The judge held that the applicant was wrong to have, in his latest application, suggested some conditions to the court.
“In an application for variation, it is not for the applicant to dictate the terms for the variation. It would have been sufficient for the applicant to provide sufficient reasons why the bail should be varied and why he could not meet the conditions earlier granted, not to dictate the conditions that suits him to the court.
“The condition, as dictated by the defendant, is pregnant with ulterior motive. What the 1st defendant has done is to ask the court to substitute his conditions with those earlier granted by the court.
“The 1st defendant failed to place materials before the court, with convincing reasons, to show that there exist exceptional circumstances to warrant the variation of the conditions of the bail earlier varied.
“The application filed by the 1st defendant lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed,” Justice Abang ruled.