A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, dismissed the application filed by Senator Ali Ndume, seeking an order to discharge him as Abdulrasheed Maina’s surety, after he jumped bail.
Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling, held that the application filed by Ndume amounted to an abuse of court process, having filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal, Abuja on the same matter.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Maina, chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), had, around September 2020, jumped bail after he was released from Kuje Correctional Service Centre on July 27 nine months after he was arraigned.
The ex-pension reformed boss was, however, rearrested in Niger Republic, where he was alleged to have fled to, by security forces and produced in court on Dec. 4, 2020.
His release on bail was made possible following Ndume’s resolve to stand as his surety after the lawmaker used his Abuja property’s title documents worth N500 million as bail bond in compliance with some of the bail conditions.
Ruling, Justice Abang, who said he had considered the arguments of both parties in the suit, held that he had no jurisdiction to entertain the lawmaker’s application dated Dec. 15, 2020.
“Where an appeal has been filed, every application will be made before the Court of Appeal. Therefore, any issue can only be entertained by the Court of Appeal,” he ruled.
The judge said the fact that Maina, who jumped bail, was produced in court did not mean that the court, as presently constituted, could hear Ndume’s motion.
Abang stressed that since the issue of forfeiture of bail bond is already before the appellate court and the appeal entered, “the court is functus officio to hear the matter.”
According to him, since the appeal is already pending, “I have no jurisdiction to carry out a surgical operation on what is before the Court of Appeal.
“Where this happens, the court has the power to dismiss it,” hevadded.
The judge, then, dismissed the application.
NAN reports that Ndume, who is currently Chairman, Senate Committee on Army at the National Assembly, had, on July 19, through his lawyer, Marcel Oru, prayed the court for an order, releasing his building’s Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) used as bail bond in the release of Maina.
He also asked the court to discharge him formally as a surety in the matter, considering the fact that Maina, “who jumped bail, has been rearrested and is in the custody of the complainant (EFCC).”
However, the then counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mohammed Abubakar, opposed the application.
Abubakar argued that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit since the matter was already before the Court of Appeal.