N2bn Pension fraud: I can’t find Maina – Senator Ndume tells court

I did not foresee these circumstances, my lord - Ndume
Senator Ali Ndume during an oversign visit and Inspection of NEDC and NEMA constructions and Progress in Borno [Credits: Michael V. Bolgent]

On Friday, Ali Ndume, Senator for Borno South, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he could not identify Abdulraheed Maina, the former chairman of the disbanded Pension Reform Task Force.

For Maina, who is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 12 counts of money laundering involving around N2 billion, Ndume stands as bail protection.

Maina was away from court three days in a row in the space of one week.

Ndume made a legal promise to follow the defendant to court per trial date in accordance with the terms and conditions of the bail granted by Judge Justice Okon Abang in January 2020 and presented the court with the title documents of his property worth N500 m in a designated region of Abuja as a guarantee.

However, both Maina and Ndume were absent for the hearing scheduled to take place on 29 September.

The senator, who subsequently appeared in court without Maina on 30 September, clarified to the judge on Friday that he was missing from the hearings on 29 September because of Boko Haram's attack on the convoy of the Governor of the State of Borno.

Asked by the judge if he knew where the defendant was, Ndume said, “My lord, I must confess, I do not know.

The Senator, who recalled that, after pleas by the defendant's wife and uncle, he decided to act as Maina's defence, also said, “I did not foresee these circumstances, my lord.”

He said the Maina's residence in Abuja was unfamiliar to him, but he knew the one in Kaduna.

In order to encourage him to locate the offender, the senator begged for more time.