Informed Nigerians are still wondering why Mrs Mariam Ali,wife of former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party PDP ,Dr Ahmadu Ali recently got herself involved by standing surety for a man said to be Sierra Leonean on trial in Nigeria over fuel subsidy fraud. Mrs Ali is not only the wife of a former PDP chairman,she is also a special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Intergovernmental Relations.
The puzzle has been heightened because Ali’s son,Mamman Nasir is also on trial over the alleged fuel subsidy scam.In the same boat is Mahmud Tukur, son of incumbent National Chairman of PDP who is also on trial over he scam.The party has tried to distance itself from the trial saying the suspects are adults who be held accountable for thir action.
But Newsdiaryonline.com learnt suspicion has been heightened following reports that Mrs Ali actually stood surety for a Sierraleonean.Several concerned Nigerians are asking questions which they say Nigerians deserve answers to such as:What was her interest in the man?Are they business associates? Is the chap a front?
One of those who spoke to us said: “We know their son is on trial over the subsidy scam.Mariam Ali’s decision to stand surety for a foreigner suggests she may know one or two things about the company the Sierra Leonean used to commit the alleged fraud.If she doesn’t know,let her come out and tell us their relationship that warrants her standing surety for him.Does it mean these people just set up companies up and put their family members and associates as fronts to siphon public funds?,he asked.Endless questions indeed.
The answers these questions still hang in the air. “We expect the EFCC to probe this matter and let Nigerians know who is truly behind these companies” ,another concerned Nigerian said.
Inquiries by Newsdiaryonline indicate that Mrs Ali truly stood surety .One source close to the trial said “yes”,she did.And it was in an open court she did it.The source added, it is not as if she gave money to bail the suspect.What usually happens is that whoever chooses to stand surety gives some guarantees,the source said.
A story by Ikpo Igbinoba of Abuja-based Blueprint newspaper on August 02, 2012 captured the story of Mariam Ali’s involvement thus:
Respite came the way of a foreigner, who is standing trial for the fuel subsidy fraud, as wife of Dr. Ahmadu Ali, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs. Mariam Ali, stood surety for him.
Mr. Christian Taylor, who was finding it difficult to meet the bail conditions which insisted that the surety must be a blood relation, got a relief yesterday, but after a stiff opposition by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs.
Mariam, who is currently the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter-governmental Relations, also has her son in the dock.
At its ruling on July 26, the court granted bail to Taylor and co-defendants, which included Ali’s son, Mamman Nasir, in the sum of N20 million and two sureties in like sum, one of who must be his blood relation with landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
Taylor, who claimed to be a Sierra-Leonean, had applied for a variation in the bail conditions handed down by the court for his bail.
At yesterday’s proceeding, counsel to Taylor, Mr. Kolade Obafemi, prayed the court to accept “a reputable and responsible Nigerian in place of a blood relation” as surety, adding that Dr. Mariam Ali, mother of the second defendant is ready to stand surety for him and also use her landed property situated at Surulere, Lagos as part of the bail bond.
When the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, queried the existence of Mrs. Ali as she had not made any disposition before the court, Obafemi said: “Mrs. Ali is a reputable public servant and Special Adviser to the President on Inter-governmental Relations.”
The prosecution opposed the variation of the bail condition on the ground that Taylor was trying to misrepresent fact by claiming in his statement that he was a native of Edo State from Okpe local government area and later claimed to a Sierra-Leonean when asked to bring a surety.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo in his ruling said the essence of bail was to allow the defendant unfettered access to his lawyers. He then varied the bail condition and substituted with a reputable and responsible Nigerian with landed property.