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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Former Pension Boss, Maina Slumps In Court

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The former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abulrasheed Maina, who is facing money laundering charges, on Thursday, collapsed before trial Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Maina slumped shortly after the courtresumed proceedings in the 12-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him and his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited.

Maina had on Wednesday after the EFCC closed its case with nine witnesses, secured permission of the court to enter a no-case-submission to the charges against him.

However, when the case was called on Thursday, Maina’s lawyer, Mr. Anayo Adibe, told the court that his client would not be able to proceed with his application.

Abide said he was unable to prepare the no-case-submission owing to the fact that he was not availed with records of proceedings of the court in the matter.

The defence lawyer was about to make further submission when his client, Maina, slumped beside the dock where the court permitted him to sit.

Some lawyers and officials of the Nigerian Correctional Service quickly rushed to his aid, a development that forced trial Justice Abang to suspend sitting.

EFCC had in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, alleged that Maina used a bank account that was operated by his firm and laundered funds to the tune of about N2billion, part of which he used to acquire landed properties in Abuja.

It told the court that the Defendant used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts, as well as recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channeled.

The Prosecution told the court that contrary to financial regulations, the banks, opened phony accounts for the Defendant, without conducting due diligence to ascertain the true identities of the owners.

It told the court that some of the bogus names Maina used to operate the accounts in a bid to conceal his true identity, included Aliyu Nafisatu and Dr. Abdullahi A. Fisal.

In count three of the charge, EFCC alleged that the Defendant had sometime in 2014, took possession of the sum of N171.91million that was paid into one of the accounts he operated with one bank (name withheld).

He was in count four, alleged to have taken possession of $360, 588.27, knowing that same was proceeds of an unlawful activity.

Maina was alleged to have in 2012, opened account number 4510002782 with his pseudo name, Dr. Fisal, and subsequently wired $1.822m into the account.

In count 11, EFCC told the court that without going through any financial institution, the Defendant paid a cash sum of $1.4m to purchase a property in Abuja.

It said that the Defendant had on June 27, 2012, made cash payment of $2m through one Adamu Modibbo, for the purchase of another property in the Jabi District of Abuja.

The prosecution maintained that the Defendants committed criminal offences punishable under sections 11(2) (a), 15(3), and 16(2) (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, and also acted in breach of the Advance Fee Fraud Act.

However, the Defendants who were arraigned on October 25, 2019, pleaded not guilty to charge. The court to suspend sitting.

As at the time of filing in this report, 10:30, Maina is still on the floor with medical officers from the court trying to revive him.

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