The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday granted bail to the Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, who had been detained in prison since Monday over his suretyship for Abdulrasheed Maina believed to have jumped bail in his N2bn money laundering trial.
Maina, a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has not been attending trial since the September 29, 2020 proceedings, a development that prompted the judge, Justice Okon Abang, to order Ndume’s remand on Monday.
Justice Okon Abang in a ruling on the surety’s bail application said he decided to grant him bail because of his record of good behaviour before the court, notwithstanding that the other grounds of his bail application failed.
According to the judge, the argument by Ndume’s lawyer, Marcel Oru, that the senator’s legislative duties would continue to suffer if denied bail did not hold water.
The judge recalled that Ndume had deposed to an affidavit dated May 5, 2020 expressing commitment that he was ready to forfeit N500m bail bond, adding that the senator ought to have realised the implication of his vow.
He added that Ndume failed to present “sufficient materials” to warrant granting him bail “under special circumstances”, but added that “the only thing that goes for him is his good behaviour before me”.
The judge granted bail to the senator pending the hearing and determination of Ndume’s appeal filed on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal to challenge the order sending him to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing Maina.
He ordered the senator to produce one responsible Nigerian as surety.
The surety, according to the judge, must be a resident of Abuja and present evidence of ownership of property anywhere within the city.
According to the judge, the surety must also depose to an affidavit of means to indicate his readiness to forfeit the bail guaranty should the senator jump bail.
The judge also ordered the senator to deposit his passport with the Chief Registrar of the court.
He also ordered the lawmaker to file an undertaking that he would compile records of appeal and transmit it to the Court of Appeal within 10 days, a way the court wants him to demonstrate his readiness to prosecute his appeal.