The Federal High Court in Abuja has summoned the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to testify in the ongoing trial of the chairperson of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
Also summoned to appear in court for the case are, a former acting chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The judge, Okon Abang, in a series of subpoenas separately addressed to the individuals, ordered them to appear in court on March 9, 10, and 11, 2021 to give evidence.
Mr Abang signed the subpoenas on March 8 following applications by Mr Maina, who is being prosecuted for laundering over N2billion in pension funds.
At least 13 subpoenas were issued by the judge summoning the named persons and officials to appear in court at the instance of Mr Maina.
Others summoned by the court through separate subpoenas are, M. Mustapha of Zenith Bank Abuja, Hassan Salihu of ICPC, G.T. Idriss also of ICPC, Mohammed Wakil, a retired commissioner of police and Kenneth Amabem.
The rest are, Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank, Ibrahim Kaigama of NIPSS, Jos, and the Director of Compliance, CBN.
“You are commanded in the name of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to attend before this court at Court 6, on March 9, 10, and 11, 2021 at 9 O’ Clock in the forenoon and so from day to day till above case is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the first defendant,” a copy of one of the subpoenas seen by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday read.
Mr Maina is the first defendant in the case in which he is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside his firm, Common Input Property & Investment.
How CBN, Malami, Magu, Falana, ICPC featured
His first defence witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, had while testifying last week, mentioned the names of the individuals and officials on whom the subpoenas have been issued.
For instance, Mr Ihuoma, had claimed Mr Maina met with Mr Malami and the National Security Adviser (NSA) in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE), in 2016.
He said after the meeting, Mr Maina gave Mr Malami and the NSA an intelligence report that led to “the recovery of N1.3 trillion.”
He also testified that the PRTT under Mr Maina’s watch recovered N282 billion that was warehoused at the CBN.
He also said N74 billion allegedly recovered by the PTRT was used in funding the 2012 budget.
The first defence witness also said Mr Maina gave an intelligence report to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) about a plan to siphon N35 billion from the Head of Service Pension Office.
He said the commission questioned the former HoS, Winifred Oyo-Ita and five other management committee members.
He added that in March 2013, Mr Maina also gave an intelligence report to the then Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and EFCC leading to the mop-up of N15 billion from Customs, Immigration, Prison Pension Office (CIPO).
Talking about the EFCC and Mr Magu, the witness claimed that the Mr Maina-led PRTT recovered about 222 sets of property valued at N1.63 trillion and handed them over to the anti-graft agency.
He claimed the commission and Mr Magu mismanaged the assets by sharing some of them to cronies.
He added that “a renowned lawyer” acquired one of the sets of property located at No 42, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja “while the property was still subject to litigation.”
Mr Ihuoma said the property worth N6billion was acquired by the lawyer at undervalued price of N1billion.
Mr Falana said in a statement that he was the one being referred to as the “renowned lawyer” but denied buying the property.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported that under cross-examination by EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, on March 5, Mr Ihuoma said he had not produced any document to back the claims.
The subpoenaed witnesses are expected to appear in court to testify on the issues in respect of which their names were mentioned by the witness.
But it is not clear if the individuals had been served with the subpoenas as none of them was present in court on Tuesday which was the first of the three days the court scheduled for them to appear.
‘I’m not paid to testify for Maina’
Meanwhile, Mr Ihuoma, said on Tuesday that he was not paid to testify in Mr Maina’s defence.
Mr Ihuoma ,who said he was a management consultant, claimed that his firm, Crincad & Cari Nigeria Ltd, was engaged by the Mr Maina-led PRTT for consultancy services.
“I was not paid money to come and testify in court,” he said while fielding questions under continued cross-examination by the prosecutor, Mr Abubakar.
He admitted on November 6, 2017, he appeared on an AIT programme, ‘Focus Nigeria’ where he said he would accompany Mr Maina if invited by the Senate or the EFCC.
He ,however, said he did not volunteer a statement when Mr Maina was arrested by the EFCC because he was not invited by the commission.
When asked if it was true that while he was engaging in image laundering for Mr Maina, Mr Maina was in money laundering.
“No, I don’t know him being involved in money laundering. If I knew I would not have been laundering his image as a person,” the witness said.
He was discharged after the prosecutor ended the cross-examination on Tuesday.
The judge, Mr Abang , adjourned till Wednesday.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...