The trial of Abdulrasheed Maina by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission suffered a slight setback with the man informing the court that he is sick.
Maina, who had been making moves to appear like he is indisposed, has been able to bribe his way to receive special treatment from officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service where he is being remanded.
Maina had failed to appear at the court on Tuesday with the prosecution and defence counsel unable to explain the reason for his absence.
An official of the Nigerian Correctional Service took a letter to the judge explaining why he was absent.
Justice Abang, who later read the letter, informed the court that the content of the letter says, “The first defendant is indisposed, unable and not fit to appear in court but would do so when his condition improves.”
He said the letter was signed by one Idowu Ajayi, a medical officer at the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre.
At the latest hearing of the case on Thursday before Justice Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, who is facing a 12-count charge of money laundering, operating fictitious bank accounts and fraud, appeared on a wheel chair.
The judge adjourned the case for 14 days to enable the court and the Nigerian Correctional Service to ascertain the true condition of his health.
Sources, however, have revealed to SaharaReporters that Maina, who is trying to evade justice, feigned sickness to deceive the judge to grant him bail on health ground.
It was revealed that Maina connived with the Assistant Comptroller of Kuje Prison, offering him cash to keep him away from appearing at the court.
An insider who spoke to SaharaReporters, likened the treatment Maina was receiving to a “presidential treatment”.
“Maina daily receives presidential treatment in the prison. He received visitors, takes his desired meals and sleeps in the ACP's office.
“The prison official, under the instruction of the ACP has consistently refused or delays the presentation of Maina in court for trial.
“At a time, Maina was brought so late that the judge stood down the matter. He was also not produced at all in court, on the flimsy excuse of sickness and inability to appear in court, it was a planned and deliberate move,” the source said.
This trend is symptomatic of Maina's antecedence of bribing to escape justice or curry favours.
SaharaReporters had previously reported how Maina evaded arrest for six years by offering huge cash to Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and some other highly placed individuals in the country.
Maina is currently seeking a bail on health ground but the EFCC opposing the application said, “Maina is not a responsible citizen but a fugitive of law”.
The EFCC said if granted bail, Maina, with the huge funds at his disposal, would compromise its witnesses, some of whom are his blood relations and family members.
“Our investigation also revealed that the 1st defendant/applicant’s Nigerian passport has expired long time ago and he has relocated to Dubai, UAE with his wife and children, who are equally American citizens, all of them using their American passports.
“Owing to the expiration of his passport and deliberate efforts to avoid being apprehended, the 1st defendant/applicant had always come into Nigeria (during his stay abroad as fugitive) by road, dubiously sneaking in the middle of the night through Niger Republic and alternating the routes through Katsina/Sokoto borders with Niger Republic,” the EFCC told the judge.
The judge had adjourned ruling on the bail application of Maina to November 21 and 22, 2019.