By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
A Federal High Court in Abuja has issued a warrant of arrest against former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, due to his continued absence from court in a N2 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The trial judge, Justice Okon Abang on Wednesday, ordered security agents in the country to arrest to Maina and bring him before the court to face the consequences of his jumping the bail granted him by the court.
Before issuing the order for his arrest, Justice Abang revoked the N500 million bail he had granted Maina on the ground that the bail had been abused following his refusal to appear in court for trial.
Also, Justice Abang granted the application by the EFCC that Maina’s trial in the fraud charges be conducted in his absence.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Muhammed Abubakar, complained that Maina could not be found despite efforts to get him to the court.
The lawyer who informed the court that Maina was absent from proceedings for the fourth time, pleaded with the court to revoke the bail being enjoyed by the fugitive defendant so that he could be apprehended by security operatives.
In his bench ruling, Justice Abang agreed that Maina had grossly abused the bail granted him and consequently ordered its revocation.
He ordered that Maina be arrested in any part of the country he may be found and brought to Abuja to face the trial.
In the same vein, Justice Abang gave Maina’s surety Senator Ali Ndume till November 23 to show cause why he should not forfeit the N500 million to the Federal Government for the bail bond he endorsed for the bail of Maina.
Meanwhile, Maina’s trial in the suit is expected to commence in his absence on November 23.
Maina, who has reportedly gone underground, was also said to have cut off contact with all his associates and friends, one of his acquaintances has said.
It would be recalled that Maina had missed over 10 scheduled court proceedings since September and had also been incommunicado to his surety, Senator Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South.
The inability to reach Maina, it was learnt, had put Ndume in a panic and confusion following fears that the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, might order his detention over the failure of the defendant to show up in court.
Abang had also threatened that the senator could be detained should he fail to produce the defendant in court on November 18.
A frantic Ndume had solicited the help of the Department of State Services and the police to track down the fugitive, but so far, the security agencies had been unable to locate Maina.