EFCC secures court order to remand arrested fugitive Maina for 14 days

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

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured a court order to keep a former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, in its custody for an initial period of 14 days.

The EFCC in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, on Thursday said the order was granted on Monday by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

It said the order followed an ex parte application to allow the commission remand the defendants and his son in its custody, pending the conclusion of ongoing investigations in their matter.

The court further stated that the order was subject to review if necessary.

The EFCC had earlier declared Mr Maina wanted over fraud allegations regarding the use of funds meant for Nigerian pensioners.

Maina’s Arrest

Mr Maina and his 20-year-old son, Faisal, were arrested by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) at the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja, on September 30.

They were therefore handed over to the EFCC for further investigations and prosecution on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N2.1billion.

The secret police said Faisal tried to resist arrest after he pulled out a pistol, but was, however, disarmed and arrested.

“Maina was arrested in the company of his 20-year-old son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, who unsuccessfully tried to resist the arrest,”

“The lad even pulled a pistol against the security agents involved in the operation,” the DSS said.

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On The Run

Mr Maina was in 2012 accused of leading a massive pension fraud scheme amounting to more than N100 billion. Ironically, he had been drafted by the then Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010 to sanitise a corrupt pension system.

The Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration, which investigated the allegations, indicted Mr Maina and issued a warrant of arrest on him.

Mr Maina sued the Senate and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and thereafter went into hiding after being declared wanted by the police.

He was dismissed from the civil service for allegedly absconding from duty and attempting to evade arrest and charged to court.

He was on July 21, 2015, charged by the EFCC, alongside the former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, and two others with fraud. While Mr Oronsaye and the two other accused were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Mr Maina remained at large.

Nothing was heard of him until shortly after the emergence of President Buhari in 2015 when members of his defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms offered to work with the then-incoming administration.

The team, which addressed a press conference in Abuja, said its work would be easier under Mr Buhari, known for his anti-corruption stand.

PREMIUM TIMES found in October 2017 that the new government secretly reinstated and promoted Mr Maina.

Amid a nationwide outrage ignited by the disclosure, President Buhari ordered the immediate sack of Mr Maina.

It later became clear Mr Maina was reinstated with the knowledge of the then Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami. The then Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, was aware but said the decision was taken without her approval.

Mrs Oyo-Ita in a leaked memo to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, said she warned Mr Buhari against the reinstatement.

Mr Maina himself said his reinstatement was ordered by President Buhari.

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