Law News
Maina introduces new twist to Oronsaye’s case

There were new twists to the trial of a former Head of Service to the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, as Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, sent a lawyer, Esther Uzoma, to court on Tuesday to debunk the allegation that he was at large.

Tuesday’s proceedings before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a Federal High Court in Abuja were scheduled for the hearing of the bail applications filed by Oronsaye and other accused persons.

Maina is not named ‎as an accused person in the case, but his name appears in many of the 24 counts preferred against the accused persons as an accomplice who is on the run.

Uzoma said it was unfair to describe her client as being at large when he was never invited by the ‎EFCC since 2011 when the anti-graft agency started taking statements from people concerned.

“No single invitation since 2011, yet they said he is at large. That is unfair,” Uzoma said.

But the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, insisted that Maina had been at large.

“It is a good development. He (Maina) has not retired but he is not at his office‎. He has been in Dubai,” he said.

Jacobs urged the judge to extract an undertaking from Uzoma to the effect that she would produce her client in court.

Though, Uzoma agreed to accept service for the charges on behalf of her client, she insisted that the EFCC should follow the rules of the court on how to bring PRTT boss to court.

On the bail applications filed by Oronsaye and the other accused person, Jacobs said he was not willing to oppose the applications since the court had earlier on July 13 after the accused persons’ arraignment, ‎released them to their lawyers upon an undertaking that they would be produced in court on Tuesday.

He however opposed the request by the defence lawyers, Kanu Agabi (SAN) and Oluwole Aladedoye, that the accused persons should be granted bail based on self-recognition.

Jacobs insisted that the court should impose conditions that would ensure the accused persons’ attendance in court for their trial.

Justice Kolawole has fixed 1.30pm on Tuesday to deliver ruling on the bail applications.

The EFCC is prosecuting Oransaye and other accused persons for allegedly conniving in defrauding the Federal Government to the tune of N118,992,201.6‎ between March 2010 and December 2011.

The fraud was allegedly perpetrated under the guise of paying the money in tranches for the contract of biometric data between the period.

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