Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun yesterday refuted the claim that the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina, was still on the payroll of the Federal Government.
Adeosun who testified before Ali Madaki-led House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the disappearance, reappearance, reinstatement and promotion of Maina, said there was no trace of any payment made to him from the two platforms deployed by government to pay workers’ salaries.
The minister was corroborated by the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris. He challenged Maina who was represented by his counsel Muhammed Kato to tender proof of such payments.
Kato fell short of tendering such evidence, arguing that as far as he was concerned, Maina was still a civil servant as his dismissal had been invalidated by a court.
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, who reeled out the identity of culprits that stole pension funds, faulted the claim by Maina that he handed over N1.63 trillion worth of assets to his outfit.
Magu said the EFCC had no record of collaboration with the Maina-led pension task force. He challenged him to disclose the identity of those that collected the proceeds of pension theft on behalf of the EFCC.
Magu disclosed that seven assets linked to Maina had been recovered by the EFCC, adding that it was discovered that he carried out transactions worth N2.7 billion in six separate accounts between 2008 and 2013. He said in one of such transactions, Maina bought a property worth $2 million (N720 million) in a location in Jabi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mohammed Babandede, disclosed that Maina holds three passports, two of which confer on him the dual citizenship of Nigeria and the United States of America. He stated that the service placed Maina on its stop list from leaving the country on 27th September 2013, but delisted him from the list on in 2015.
The Director General of the State Security Service (DSS), Lawal Daura, who recalled how Maina ran into troubled waters with the Senate over his role in the pension probe, said there was no request on his outfit to place him on its watch list.
Daura said he was in the know of Maina’s meeting with the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami and the national security adviser (NSA) in Dubai last year but distanced himself from his reinstatement. He explained that his outfit acceded to Maina’s request for security cover in line with its responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of the citizenry.
Malami disclaimed the letter in which he purportedly ordered the reinstatement of Maina in the Ministry of Interior. The minister described his intervention in the Maina saga as “work in progress”, adding that he was yet to exhaust the official channel of determining the propriety of Maina’s reinstatement before the story broke in the media.
Malami who refused to accept responsibility for any wrong doing, disclosed that he had ordered an investigation to determine whether or not the contentious letter actually emanated from his office.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Mr Abubakar Magaji, accepted responsibility for the breach of due process in the way and manner he sidelined the office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF) to process the reinstatement of Maina based on the recommendation of the acting chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Mr. Joseph Oluremi Akande.
Akande had defended his decision to recommend Maina’s reinstatement, saying it was based on the legal advice from the office of Malami.
The HOSF, Mrs. Winfred Oyo-Ita insisted that Maina remained dismissed from the civil service since he is yet to be handed a letter of reinstatement in accordance with laid down rules.
Oyo-Ita made reference to a letter emanating from her office dated 7th November, to the Federal Civil Service Commission reaffirming the dismissal of Maina from the service.