Trial of Maina’s son begins

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Court symbol used to illustrate the story.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday opened its case against Faisal Maina, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, by calling its first witness.

Mr Maina is the son to Abdurasheed Maina, embattled former director of the Federal Government’s Pension Task Force.

He was arrested alongside his father in September. The father is accused of diverting N100 billion of pension funds.

His son is accused by the anti-graft agency of operating an account with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) ”which he used to divert various sums of money, including N58 million”.

Mr Maina and his son were arraigned on October 25, on separate charges. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court after the son’s arraignment ordered his remand at the police special tactical squad in Asokoro.

Prosecution opens case

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court of his preparedness to commence trial.

He presented a business manager, United Bank of Africa, Maitama branch, Mairo Bashir as a first witness.

Led in evidence by Mr Abubakar, Mrs Bashir informed the court that as business manager with UBA, she oversees the affairs of the Business Section of the bank, including sales, operations, generation of deposits, and gives loans to individuals and corporate bodies.

When asked if she knows the defendant, Mrs Bashir said, “Yes, I know him, his name is Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina. He is the son to Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, who is the younger brother to my late husband, Bashir Abdullahi Maina”.

Mrs Bashir revealed that sometime in 2011, she solicited for funds from Faisal’s father while he was the chairman of Pension Reforms Task Team.

She said the former pension chairman made a deposit of N3 billion in the UBA which she said, was later transferred to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) around 2012.

To further grow the bank’s deposit base, the witness said she approached Mr Maina for more deposits, prompting him to open 12 accounts for himself and his immediate family members among which is Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2.

The prosecution asked the witness if she would be able to identify the document used in opening the account and Mrs Bashir responded positively.

Describing the document, she said it is a UBA file with UBA red logo, with account name Alhaji Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2. ”Other features are duly account opening form, the sole proprietorship document, reference, utility bill, passport photograph of the signatory, Faisal and his father is (are) the signatory (ies) and the means of identity,” Mrs Bashir added.

The prosecution asked the court to tender the document but the defendant’s counsel, Francis Orosanya, opposed it.

The court presided over by Okon Abang admitted the document as an exhibit and adjourned to November 7, for hearing of Mr Maina’s bail application.

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