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Senators are reluctant to stand as surety to a former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, his lawyer, Afam Osigwe, said.

Mr Osigwe made this known on Thursday, during the ongoing criminal trial of Mr Maina, at the federal high court in Abuja.

The judge, Okon Abang, who is presiding over the matter, had asked the defendant’s lawyer, whether Mr Maina has been able to perfect his bail conditions.

Responding, Mr Osigwe said: “Unfortunately, senators are reluctant to stand in for Maina.”

Mr Maina’s lawyer further said he is trying to explore other strategies to ensure that the bail conditions are fully complied with.

Trial

Mr Maina is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, operating fictitious accounts and other fraudulent activities.

The former PRTT chairman, who was in hiding for almost two years, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS).

The SSS then handed over Mr Maina to the EFCC, which had declared him wanted for over a year.

EFCC Officials EFCC Officials

He was arraigned on October 25.

He pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge of N100 billion pension fraud brought against him.

Bail conditions

The court had granted Mr Maina bail of N1 billion with two sureties in like sum.

Justice Abang had held that the sureties must be serving senators with no criminal case pending in court and must own landed properties in Maitama or Asokoro, Abuja.

The judge added that the senators must attend proceeding at every adjourned date for the trial.

Nigeria Senate plenaryNigeria Senate plenary Nigeria Senate plenary

Unable to meet those bail conditions, the former PRTT chairman through his lawyer appealed to the court to vary the bail conditions.

Following Mr Maina’s plea, the court adjusted the bail sum to N500 million and ordered him to produce one surety with a landed property fully developed in Maitama, Asokoro, Central Business District, Wuse 2 and Katampe, all in Abuja.

The judge said, the defendant must, “produce one surety who must be a Nigerian and a serving senator, who must not be standing any criminal trial in court.”

Mr Abang added that the surety shall come to court with the defendant at all adjourned dates and sign the register opened for him before going back to his business.

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