Sen. Ali Ndume’s motion to be discharged as Abdulrasheed Maina’s surety after he skipped bail was dismissed by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
In a judgement, Justice Okon Abang ruled that Ndume’s motion amounted to an abuse of court process, despite the fact that he had filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal in Abuja on the same issue.
Maina, the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT) chairman, jumped bail in September 2020 after being freed from Kuje Correctional Service Centre on July 27, nine months after his arraignment.
The ex-pension manager was apprehended by security forces in the Niger Republic, where he was said to have fled, and was brought before a court on Dec. 4, 2020.
Ndume’s decision to stand as his surety was made possible when the legislator used his Abuja property’s title documents worth N500 million as a bail bond in order to meet some of the bail terms.
Justice Abang, who stated that he had reviewed both parties’ arguments in the case, ruled that he lacked jurisdiction to hear the lawmaker’s application dated Dec. 15, 2020.
“Every application will be made before the Court of Appeal if an appeal has been filed.
As a result, he held, any issue can only be heard by the Court of Appeal.
The fact that Maina, who had skipped bail, had appeared in court did not mean that the court could consider Ndume’s application in its current form, according to the judge.
“The court is functus officio to hear the matter,” Abang said, because the subject of forfeiture of bail bond is already before the appellate court and an appeal has been filed.
I do not have jurisdiction to do a surgical procedure on what is before the Court of Appeal, he claims, because the appeal is already pending.
“Wherever this occurs, the court has the authority to dismiss the case,” he continued.
The application was then dismissed by the judge.
Recall that Ndume, who is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army in the National Assembly, requested the court on July 19 for an order releasing his building’s Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which was used as a bail bond in the release of Maina, through his lawyer, Marcel Oru.
He further sought the court to formally discharge him as a surety in the case, citing the fact that Maina, “who jumped bail has been rearrested and is in the custody of the complainant (EFCC),” had been re-arrested.
Mohammed Abubakar, then-counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), however, objected to the motion.
Abubakar maintained that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because it had previously been heard by the Court of Appeal.