The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji, on Wednesday delivered a shocker to members of the Senate ad-hoc committee probing the scandal involving fugitive ex-Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Abdulrasheed Maina.
Mr. Magaji told members of the committee that the minister, Abdulrahman Dambazau, played no role in the reinstatement of Mr. Maina into the ministry, more than four years after he was dismissed from the civil service.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the roles played by Mr. Dambazau and the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, in the controversial reinstatement of Mr. Maina; which was eventually reversed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the permanent secretary, the minister neither saw nor received any mail in the process of the controversial reinstatement.
Mr. Magaji said he, and not the minister, was in the best position to answer questions on the issue as all correspondences were received in his office.
The Senate committee comprising chairmen and vice chairmen of committees on Interior, Judiciary, Anti-corruption and Public Service Establishment, was tasked to determine the circumstances surrounding Mr. Maina’s return to the country and how he was reinstated to the service and promoted to the position of director after dismissal.
The committee had invited heads of the Ministry of Interior, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Head of Service and other governmental agencies involved in the reinstatement of Mr. Maina.
Mr. Magaji told the investigative hearing that the minister was not the official to quiz on the issue for which he was invited.
“In a ministry, there are responsibilities. The minister is in charge of policy direction while the permanent secretary’s office is in charge of establishment matters, which we are discussing today; and all correspondences to the ministry were sent to perm sec directly and not to the minister.
“The minister has not seen a single mail related to Maina in his office or directed any action other than the perm sec’s office. That’s why I feel I should be here to assist even though I wasn’t in the ministry when this thing happened.”
He explained that the minister was unable to appear before the committee due to late communication of change in date as he was attending a council meeting.
The lawmakers, however, rejected Mr. Magaji’s prayer to stand on behalf of his boss.