Court sentences Maina’s son Faisal to 24 years imprisonment

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday sentenced Faisal, son of the Chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, to 24 years imprisonment.

Alleged pension fraud: Absence of EFCC lawyer stalls Faisal Maina’s trial

Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, held that Faisal, who was sentenced in absentia, was guilty of all the three-count charge.

Justice Okon, who handed down a five-year-jail term for count one bordering on money laundering offence, sentenced Faisal to 14 years imprisonment on count two.

The judge, who ordered the Federal Government to get Faisal arrested anywhere he is found in the country, also ordered that an arrest warrant for his extradition should be issued against him if found outside the country in order for him to serve his prison term.

Okon dismissed an application by Faisal’s counsel, A.A. Onoja, for allocutus (a plea for leniency) after his client’s conviction, saying such request could not have been granted since the defendant (Faisal) was not in court.

The judge held that the defendant, who was not in court, jumped bail and had been on the run.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on July 16, reported that Justice Abang had fixed the matter for judgment after the then Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s Lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, adopted the commission's final written address and urged the court to convict Faisal in all the three counts levelled against him, “the prosecution having proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt.”

NAN reports that Onoja, who did not file any final written address, had sought for an adjournment on the grounds that he was not briefed on the development in the case.

The EFCC lawyer, however, opposed his plea for an adjournment, arguing that on March 17 when the case was adjourned, Anayo Adibe, who appeared for Faisal, did not apply to file any written address, even after the ruling was delivered, saying “four months since that day, the defence has not done anything.”

The judge, who dismissed the application for adjournment, held that the request was made in bad faith.

NAN reports that Faisal, who is being prosecuted along his father, Maina, is standing a separate trial on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The defendant, who was arraigned by the EFCC on Oct. 25, 2019, was admitted to bail, on Nov. 26, 2019, in the sum of N60 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a member of House of Representatives.

However, Faisal jumped bail around September 2020 and stopped attending his trial.

The judge, on Nov. 25, 2020, summoned the lawmaker, Rep Sani Dan-Galadima, representing Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara, who stood as surety for Faisal, for disregarding court order to produce the defendant in court after he was granted bail.

Abang then revoked the bail granted Faisal, ordered his arrest and directed that his trial should proceed in absentia having been said to have jumped bail by the prosecution.

The judge also ordered the surety to forfeit the property which he used as a bail bond to the Federal Government, having failed to produce Faisal.

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