BREAKING: AbdulRasheed Maina sentenced to 8-year imprisonment,

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has found Abdul-Rasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), guilty of money laundering and other forms of corruption.

Justice Okon Abang, delivering judgment on Monday, ruled that the prosecution has established its case against Maina and accordingly sentenced him to eight years in prison.

This was coming a day after Faisal, his 21-year-old son was found guilty, in absentia, by the same court of money laundering charges and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment.

Abang in delivering judgement in the AbdulRasheed case said the prosecution established that Maina stole over N2billion from pensioners’ funds, “most of whom have died without reaping the fruits of their labour”.

 Justice Abang also found Maina guilty of purchasing a property in Abuja for which he paid with $1.4million cash, which is above the statutory threshold of N5million and without passing through a financial institution he described the act as a criminal offence.

He also found Maina guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in two new generation banks by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.

These accounts had cash deposits of N300million, N500million and N1.5billion, which the judge found that Maina stole from pensioners because he could not prove where he got said finds from.

Abang noted that throughout Maina’s service as a civil servant his salary and emoluments could not have amounted to the monies in the accounts.

He noted that the prosecution produced essential evidence through witnesses called to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Maina is also guilty of money laundering to the tune of N171,099,000.

The judge said the amount formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

“I find the defendant (Mr Maina) guilty and convicted in counts 2, 6, 9, 3, 7 and 10,” the judge said.

In the Faisal judgment, Justice Okon Abang found Faisal guilty on the three-count money laundering charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 Abang sentenced him to five years each in relation to counts one and three, and to 14 years on count two, which sentences, the judge added, are to run concurrently, beginning from the day of the judgment.

He held among others, that the prosecution effectively discharge the burden placed on it by law to prove the offences charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Abang said that the prosecution successfully established that Faisal, operated a fictitious bank account, through which his father, Maina, laundered N58.1million.

The judge held that the fund which was deposited into the account that was operated in the name of Alhaji Faisal Farm 2, was sequentially withdrawn by Faisal and his father between October 2013 and June 2019.

Abang said he was satisfied that the prosecution team, led by Mohammed Abubakar (now a judge of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory -FCT) proved all the essential ingredients of the charge.

He added that the defendant reasonably ought to have known that inflows into the bank account formed proceeds of an unlawful act of corruption by his father.

Abang then ordered Faisal, who the prosecution claimed, jumped bail and escaped to the United States (US), should be arrested anywhere he is found in Nigeria and remanded in any correctional centre.

He added that in the event that Faisal is traced to anywhere outside the country, the Federal Government, “shall legally or lawfully commence extradition proceeds to bring him into the country to serve the jail term”.

The judge ordered that the company through which the fund was laundered, Alhaji Faisal Farm 2, be wound up, with funds in it forfeited to the government.

Faisal was arraigned in October 2019. He ceased to attend court from June 24, 2020, after he was granted bail.

Upon application by the prosecution, in which it claimed Faisal jumped bail and escaped to the US, the court revoked his bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

The court then proceeded to try him in absentia following is failure to return for the case.

 More detail later.

TNA Niyi-Akinmade

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