Maina sought opportunity to say the ‘truth’ in letter to Saraki

Abdulrashid Maina
Former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina

A letter written by former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urging the Senate to give him an opportunity of fair hearing has surfaced.

The letter dated June 19, 2015, one week after the inauguration of the present Senate, indicated that the fugitive ex-pension boss returned to the country shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration on May 29, 2015.

PREMIUM TIMES on October 20 broke the news of Mr. Maina’s secret recall and promotion in the Ministry of Interior.

Following the public criticism that followed the clandestine reinstatement, President Muhammadu Buhari on October 23 ordered “immediate disengagement of Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina from service.”

A day after, October 24, the Senate, drafted the chairmen and vice- chairman of committees on Interior, Judiciary, Anti-corruption and Public Service Establishment to “determine the circumstances surrounding Maina’s return to the country and how he was reinstated to the service and got promoted to the post of Director after dismissal.”

Mr. Maina has since gone back into hiding and is still wanted by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, who accuse him of mismanaging about N2 billion pension funds.

HOW SENATE GOT INVOLVED IN MAINA’S CASE

Mr. Maina entered the black book of the Nigerian Senate in 2012 when he ignored several summons by the Joint Senate Committee on Establishment, Pubic Service and Local Governments- headed by Aloysius Etuk.

The consistent refusal of Mr. Maina to honour several invitations by the committee to appear and explain his role in the alleged N195 billion pension fraud forced the Senate to mandate the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to compel it to appear.

However, despite a call on the IGP, several threats, and a warrant of arrest on Mr. Maina, he refused to show up. Instead, he sued the Senate and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and thereafter went into hiding after being declared wanted by the police.

Mr. Maina’s misdemeanour incurred the wrath of the 7th Senate which prevailed upon then President Goodluck Jonathan to either choose between the red chamber or Maina.

Senator David Mark
Senator David Mark

“The executive now has to choose between Maina and the Senate, that is the bottom line,” then Senate President David Mark said. “If they chose to go along with Maina, fine, we will react accordingly. And to extend the hand of friendship is the correct thing to do because we must work together. There is no running away from that one. It is a test case. If Maina remains, then the Senate will react appropriately and I don’t think we are short of ideas nor are we short of what we want to do. We know the step to take.”

Mr. Maina was eventually dismissed from civil service for “absconding from duty’’ in 2013.

MAINA’S EXPLOSIVE LETTER TO SARAKI

Mr. Maina’s letter titled “Pension Reform Task Team: Appeal for Review of Investigation Probe by Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Government Administration 2011-2013,” was addressed to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Dated June 19, 2015, the letter sought a review of his case and fingered the Senate committee constituted to investigate him of favouring “pension thieves.”

Mr. Maina claimed in the letter which leaked to journalists in Kaduna on Friday, a copy of which was published by The Nation newspaper, that his team helped the country save about N1.6 trillion from pension thieves.

He noted that his team’s effort led to the arrest of 46 people and firms involved in looting pension funds. He said the 46 of them are currently been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

“We, members of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), wish to use this medium to apologise for our little late response to reaching back to you,” Mr. Maina said.

“We had to put the issues together and source for appurtenant materials. We appreciate your understanding sir.

“As a refresher, the PRTT was inaugurated on 10th June, 2010 by the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, with a clear mandate to restructure the Head of Service Pension Office, Police Pension Office, among others.

“We did our utmost with precision and national interests as our guiding principles. The PRTT took off effectively by January 2011.

“We used financial intelligence skills to achieve ground-breaking achievements in our assignment.

“We recovered and saved cash and properties worth over N1.6 trillion.

“Our efforts led to the arrest and prosecution of 46 persons/firms involved in looting of pension funds which we handed to the EFCC. The trials are still ongoing.

“As it is, there is a leakage of N256 billion monthly from the current IPPIS, which needs to be blocked urgently.

“We are also aware of some government hidden accounts which needs to be mopped up.

“We can be used to engage any department of government in sanitising the financial workflow to avoid loose ends that remain susceptible to leakages.

“Based on the revelations of massive/monumental fraud and outright stealing of pension funds, which was brought to public attention by the PRTT, the 7th National Assembly by resolution dated 2nd November, 2011 mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service, State and Local Government Administration, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the management and administration of pension funds in Nigeria.

“There was general expectation that the various dimensions of irregularities associated with the management of pension funds in Nigeria would come to an end as a consequence of the investigations being conducted by the Senate Joint Committee.”

Mr. Maina alleged that the committee saddled with the responsibility of investigating the matter ended up favouring those involved in embezzling pension funds.

He noted that the biometric system adopted by the team exposed 73,000 ghost pensioners in the office of the Head of Service alone.

The letter reads further: “Some pensioners got backlog of about 30 years paid into their accounts. All payments were ordered under the signature of the Head of Service monthly.

“However, the PRTT regrets to observe that rather than achieving the objectives of the spirit and its mandate, which in our view includes but not limited to identifying those responsible for the culture of fraud that characterised the system and bringing them to book, the Senate Joint Committee ended up creating more problems than solutions to the endemic corruption and fraud prevailing in the system.

“In this context, the PRTT, wishes to state without any fear of contradiction that the Senate Joint Committee’s Report submitted, which was subsequently adopted by the 7th Senate but now quashed by the Federal High Court judgement of the 13th March 2013 in favour of the PRTT’s Chairman, not only failed to address the issues at stake but succeeded in misleading the Senate and the generality of Nigerians about the true picture, nature and scope of problems militating against the efficient management and administration of Pension Funds in Nigeria. Copy of said judgement attached and marked “ANNEXURE1”.”

“Today, it (pension) is worse with the Police pension office where daily so much millions are taken out of pension funds in that office. We have evidence to substantiate this.”

Mr. Maina in the letter sought an opportunity to present his own side of the pension fraud story.

“As we write to you, Abdulrasheed A. Maina has been dismissed from Civil Service for being absent for three days while his life was under threat following gunshot attack on his person in front of Head of Civil Service Office where his office was located in February, 2013. Attached are copies of letters from Nigeria Police Force. “ANNEXURE 3 (a) and (b)”.

“The Task Team and its leadership were not only denied the opportunity for a fair hearing before being pronounced guilty of all manner of allegations, but even where the Task Team appeared before the Committee, salient facts related to the issues at stake were deliberately ignored.”

He added that an appeal to the 7th Senate for fair hearing was ignored. As a result, the PRTT approached the Federal High Court Abuja in suit number: FH/ABJ/CS/65/2013. He said the court ruled in his favour on March 13, 2013 noting that till date, the Senate had yet to appeal the judgment of the court.

“We are by this letter appealing to the Federal Government in the spirit of CHANGE which the country is witnessing, and the stand of government on corruption, that opportunity be given to us to present the truth about pension management in Nigeria.”

SARAKI REACTS

The Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Yusuf Olaniyonu, said on Saturday evening that he could not confirm receipt of the letter.

Mr. Olaniyonu had, however, told The Nation Newspapers that the present Senate leadership ignored the letter because the last Senate had taken a decision on the pension matter and there was no reasonable ground to review it.

On Saturday, however, he told PREMIUM TIMES he was not sure the letter exists.

“I don’t even know about the existence of that letter. It’s not something I can say we have. I cannot confirm that the Senate President received such letter,” he said in a telephone interview.

“The Senate President does not know him. He has not seen the Senate President before. So, if you are talking about a letter, except we check and see that that letter actually came in.”

He also questioned the date of the said letter suggesting that it may not exist since the 8th Senate was inaugurated June 2015, the month the letter was reportedly submitted.

The 8th Senate was actually inaugurated on June 9, 2015, a week before the letter was written.

“We are talking about a letter of June 2015. That was when he came in as Senate President.”


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  • Amorji

    Report yourself.Thief.

  • Abdul Wada

    The same Maina that this government is vigorously looking for is issuing leaks and press release at will..

    • Julius

      Yes, funny..isn’t it ? Who is fooling who ?

    • Shahokaya

      The same Maina that for over a year during Jonathan in 2013,he was declared wanted but was moving freely between the Villa , his office and that of the than head of service. Who is this Maina?

  • Moneyz N Horseyz

    Hogwash !

  • Mani_Kay

    MAINA HAS EXPOSED THE REAL BUHARI WE KNOW …… AN EXTREMELY PRETENTIOUS CORRUPT CHARACTER!

    Maina also exposed the fact that Buhari lacks capacity and possesses none of what it takes to execute the Office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

    • systematic

      That is ur opinion. but for the good people of this country buhari is a man of integrity there is no doubt about it

      • Factsayer

        Integrity means jihadism to some people like u

      • Kallah Bature

        Yes I agree with you 100%.Mani-Kay’s may have an opinion but it is certainly wrong.PMB’s integrity is yet to be surpassed by all recent Nigerian leaders.This is even before he became Nigeria’s President.

  • persona

    This report doesn’t say if Maina was around during this period before the advent of ministers screened by the senate.
    The funny part is the scramble by Saraki’s spokesperson giving 3 responses to a single question.
    At any rate, this all comes to the position i have espoused, who is Maina?
    He was protected by the last administration, protected by this administration, went into hiding last administration and even this?
    Till you know what makes a man tick, you cant fully know who he is.
    Senate’s position is not strange(corruption and NASS are one and the same), its that of the executive that is disturbing.

    • Kallah Bature

      Without putting the cart before the horse and before blaming anyone for corruption let’s ensure diligent investigation to establish the truth.The current leadership of the EFCC or a committee of credible individuals can unearth the dirt of this monumental stealing.

  • Mani_Kay

    CORRUPTION IS THE FEEDING BOTTLE OF THE NORTHERN MUSLIM HAUSA-FULANI

    It can never be that a Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani man or woman will ever step forward to genuinely fight corruption or team up with others to do so.

    The reason is very simple and it is this: corruption is the feeding bottle of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani …. without corruption they will wither and die.

    They know, no other way to survive; none whatsoever.

    Even the so called Dangote & BUA empires will collapse same day their corrupt access to CBN Fx and other corrupt Federal subsidies and shields are cut off and/or removed

    So it amounts to extreme naivety for Southerners to expect a Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani person to lead the fight against corruption particularly one that have immensely benefited from corruption even to the point that corruption is shielding him from his shady WASC magana

  • utolason

    I don’t buy this Maina claims. There are several reasons why I found Maina’s claims to be false.
    1. As regards the claim of threat to life, his safety would have been assured once he is in EFCC custody.
    2. Tthe head of EFCC of 2013 isn’t the same person today. It is unlikely that a false allegation against him under the EFCC of GEJ government and would be substantially sustained and prosecutable by today’s EFCC.
    3. Since he returned to Nigeria, he would have reported to the new EFCC if truly he has nothing to hide. Even if he was charged to court, he knows EFCC never win every case they take to court.
    4. Lastly and perhaps more importantly. there are no justifiable reasons whatsoever for him to have quietly returned to his job and be promoted and the substance of his claims were never investigated by those that conspired to bring him back to the civil service and ensured his promotion.

    In fact, Maina isn’t in it alone, those that sponsored his return to office are culpable in this pension fraud.

    • Factsayer

      They are advanced fraudsters

    • Frank Bassey

      Remember, Our President was aware of his return, reinstatement and promotion.
      What else are we talking about here? If he had the nod of the highest office in the land, how do you expect him to go and submit himself to EFCC, which of course, cannot say it was not aware.

  • Factsayer

    Facts speak more than words. Trace the money path and catch the thief. Living above your salary and earnings is an indication of involvement in fraudulent /corrupt practices.

    That you claim to clean the pension scam doesn’t mean you cant be tempted to steal from the cleaning. You are not the first thief to steal from something in his custody

  • Gary

    Yes, Mr. Maina you exposed pension thieves and retrieved hundreds of millions of stolen funds.
    Then you and co-conspirators helped yourselves to these pensions funds as well. For which you were indicted along with others but chose to flee the country rather than have your day in court.
    That is the issue. You may proclaim your innocence from Zungeru to Timbuktu but that will be a Red Herring and not address the outstanding indictment:
    – that you Abdulrahman Maina stole N2b of Nigerian Pension Funds.
    -that you fled the country rather than appear in court to defend yourself of the charge and was thus sacked and declared a fugitive from justice
    -that you and senior officials of the Buhari administration conspired to have you surreptitiously returned to Nigeria, illicitly cleared of outstanding warrants for your arrest and reinstated into the Federal Civil Service with a promotion and N22m in backpay for the period you fled the country.
    Note: this egregious act of malfeasance comes at a time when unpaid pensioners like former Nigeria Airways are dying of penury and destitution by a government that has owed them for decades after OBJ impulsively shut down the national airline.

    So people, we must not let Maina and co-travelers deflect from the issues at stake by appealing to sentiments and portraying himself as a victim rather than a thief and his kinsmen who got caught trying to sidestep the law and Constitution with such breath-taking impunity.

    Surrender and go to court to defend yourself just like Oronsaye and others. A thousand letters to Senator Saraki or the UN Secretary-General will not cut it.

  • Frank Bassey

    “The letter dated June 19, 2015, one week after the inauguration of the
    present Senate, indicated that the fugitive ex-pension boss returned to
    the country shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration on
    May 29, 2015.”
    THIS IS HOW A THIEF WAS COVERED, PROTECTED AND SHIELDED BY A THIEVING GOVERNMENT PRETENDING TO FIGHT CORRUPTION.

    • Kallah Bature

      Mr.Frank please be frank for once.The letter the Senate is claiming non-reciept is now in the public domain.Let the Senate act on its contents.Without saying Maina is innocent,it is not unsual for officials in Nigeria to help cover atrocities for pecuniary interest.Let the authorities put effective machinery on ground to uncover the truth… Senate committee or Maina?

      • Frank Bassey

        You are not wrong. But how can such a letter evaporate into thin air? Should we encourage such misdemeanor?