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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ndume spends second night in prison, appeals remand

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The Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, has spent his second night at the Kuje Prison, where the Federal High Court judge, Justice Okon Abang, directed that he should be held.

Ndume was remanded in prison for his inability to produce the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was said to have jumped bail.

Justice Abang, prompted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, ruled on Monday that Ndume would remain in prison until he either produced Maina or had the N500m bail bond paid into the Federation Account.

Ndume was led away from the court by prison officials shortly after the judge handed down the order for his remand on Monday.

But the senator has appealed against the remand order by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

It was confirmed from the court and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sources that Ndume, through his legal team led by Marcel Oru, filed 12 grounds of notice of appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday.

It was gathered that both the notice of appeal and the application for bail had been served on the EFCC, the prosecuting agency which on Monday pushed for Maina’s remand till when he would be able to produce the fleeing defendant or pay a N500m bail bond.

The senator basically argued in his notice of appeal that his right to fair hearing was breached by the Federal High Court through the court’s rejection of his lawyer’s request for an adjournment to enable him to have time to receive the necessary court documents needed to prepare for his defense.

On Tuesday, Ndume’s lawyer, Oru, informed Justice Okon Abang that his client had on November 19, 2020, applied to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court for the certified true copies of seven documents he needed to prepare for his client’s defense.

Justice Abang in his ruling acknowledged seeing a copy of the letter in the file after the lawyer drew his attention to it, but declined to grant the request for an adjournment.

The judge had ruled that a mere administrative letter addressed to the DCR of the court did not constitute sufficient grounds to stall the proceedings.

But Ndume’s legal team contended in their notice of appeal that the judge’s refusal to grant the adjournment amounted to the violation of their client’s right to fair hearing.

Ndume’s lawyer, however, confirmed the appeal and bail application filed on behalf of the senator.

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