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Sen Ali Ndume: Court Adjourns Judgement For Hearing Of Bail Application

The Federal High Court in Abuja today, Thursday, November 26, has adjourned the judgement for the hearing of bail application filed by Senator Ali Ndume’s lawyer.

The Court directed the counsels to submit to court the copies of legal authorities cited by them and that the court may deliver it’s judgment tomorrow if it is ready.

He further adjourned the case until 27th November, 2020.

Mr Ali Ndume had stood as surety for Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, who is standing trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on charges of money laundering alleged to be N2bn.

The Senator from Borno South who has been remanded in Kuje correctional centre since Monday, earlier applied for bail through his lawyer, Marcel Oru who moved a motion before the court dated 24th November 2020 and filled the same day.

The prosecution lead counsel, Mohammed Abubakar opposed the application for bail saying that they were served the application less than 48 hours ago outside the conventional time of 2 – 3 days to be served before the date of hearing but because of the urgency of the matter, they decided to file a respondent counter-affidavit and written address in opposition for the application for bail dated 26th November and filled the same day.

The applicant’s lead counsel, Marcel Oru told the court that they were just being served the respondent counter-affidavit and prayed the court to most graciously give him 10 minutes to study the processes and see if they can continue with the application and seek for adjournment.

He went on to say that the counsel is making this plea considering his client’s fundamental human rights moreso, the counter affidavit was served in court in the course of the proceeding.

The Prosecution Counsel had no opposition to the stand down. Therefore, the trial Judge, Okon Abang granted the stand down to enable the applicant lead counsel stand down look into the affidavit.

The applicant’s lead counsel, Marsel Oru thanked the court for the indulgence and said they are ready to take the bail application for hearing. He also sought leave of court to reply orally to the points of law raised in the counter affidavit and written address of the prosecution respondent.

The lead counsel for the prosecution, Mohammed Abubakar had no objection. The Court ordered as prayed, said the applicant is at liberty to respond orally to the points of law raised in the counter affidavit and written address served.

Marsel Oru further prayed the court to grant the applicant bail pending the determination of the court of appeal. He argued that the applicant, Mr Ali Ndume has been of good conduct in attending court regularly as ordered despite his busy schedule as a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Stating that the Senator will likely suffer irreparable loss in remand unless the court exercises discretion in favour of the applicant.

He condemned the conduct of the 1st defendant, Abdulrasheed Maina who is believed to have jumped bail after being absent in court on multiple occasions.

He told the court that only God knows when a Nigerian with a good heart will stand surety for another who is facing criminal charges. He urged the lordship to grant the bail application and not throw the baby away with the bathwater. He added that during Mr Ndume’s remand in prison this short period, he has suffered enough pain and anguish not just himself but his constituency, his family and his supporters. He urged the lordship to be magnanimous in the circumstances of this case to grant the application as prayed.

The Prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar argued that if the applicant is released on this application and not through the fulfilment of bail bond, it will mean that the court is sitting on the appeal. He said if the applicant filed an application asking the court to set out its order based on known grounds of law, it will have been a different case but the applicant has pleaded to the court of appeal and without waiting for the court of appeal, has come back to the court to direct that it sits on the appeal of the applicant.

Mohammed Abubakar said the court has jurisdiction to entertain the application but because of the circumstances of this case, it is our most humble submission that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. He thanked the court for the indulgence.

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