Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pension probe: Maina, IGP Abubakar, others ignore Senate

Published:

Abdulrasheed Maina… He has been declared wanted by the police for failing to appear before a Senate committee

Maina, the senate believes, orchestrated the misappropriation of N195 billion pension fund.

The Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina, fingered in a N195 billion pension fraud in Abuja on Wednesday failed to appear before the Senate Joint Committee investigating pension administration in the country.

The Joint Committee on Establishment, Public Service and Local Government Administration was mandated by the Senate to investigate pension administration beginning from 1999.

Mr. Maina had consistently refused to honour several invitations by the committee to appear and explain his role or otherwise in the alleged N195 billion pension fraud.

The Senate President, David Mark, had last week directed the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, to compel Mr. Maina to appear before the Joint committee on Wednesday.

The resumed sitting of the committee was delayed for over one hour because the police boss failed to produce Mr. Maina.

Also absent at Wednesday’s sitting were the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, and the Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama.

Others absentees were former Heads of Service of the Federation, HOSFs, Steve Oronsanye and Oladapo Afolabi; and a former Director of Pension in the HOSF, Shuaibu Teidi.

The Chairman of the committee, Aloysius Etok, acknowledged the presence of all the agencies under the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office, CIPPO.

Mr. Etok, however, condemned the attitude of Mr. Maina for repeatedly refusing to take advantage of the opportunities to defend himself before the public.

“We’ve kept this people waiting for one hour and incidentally, the inspector-general of police is not here.

“The senate under the hand of the senate president issued a warrant of arrest and directed the IG to present and compel Maina to appear before this committee by 12 o’clock on the dot.

“We will never issue any invitation to you again until we are done with this matter; this sitting is hereby adjourned indefinitely, Mr. Etok announced.

The co-chairman of the joint committee, Kabiru Gaya, informed the gathering that while they were waiting for Mr. Maina to appear before it, he was addressing a group at the National Assembly gate.

“I have just been briefed by the police that Mr. Maina is at the gate addressing his supporters instead of coming here.

“We wanted him to be here by 12 but he is not here. So the committee will know what to do.

“Nigerians are watching and we are open and sincere. We wanted this on record. God knows we have tried,” Mr. Gaya said.

The sort of arrogance shown by Mr. Maina in responding to the allegations laid against him by the senate is damning and he can only be backed by very powerful in Nigeria-people more powerful that those behind the fraudulent fuel subsidy scheme, the senate had said on Tuesday.

Mr. Maina has been feuding with the legislators over pilfering funds to the tune of N195 billion meant for payment of pension to retirees who served Nigeria in the civil service for many years.

Mr. Maina cast aspersions on the credibility of the allegations, saying that legislators had connived with his detractors who were uncomfortable with the reforms as regards the pension.

NAN

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