Our attention has been drawn to some publications with the above title featuring Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina, chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) as being wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged pension fraud.
We would have ignored the biased, unresearched and unfounded report but for the pain it has caused the person of the assaulted Maina, his friends, business associates and family members, we decided to set the records straight.
It is instructive to state that we shall not hesitate to take the sure, slow but assured law of legal redress against media houses that publish materials that have no grounds of authority against our persons as members of the PRTT and our official conducts which we did in the best interest of this nation whilst the thieves that contrived against us are made to look like saints and we who caught the thieves are made to look like villains.
The facts: One, Abdulrasheed Maina is not wanted by the EFCC or any anti-graft agency in the country. We went to court to challenge the impunity with the conducts and practise of the EFCC which we won. Find the attached court order vacating the earlier order for arrest of Mr. Maina by the same EFCC. This is a democracy.
Secondly, and very important too, the reference to Maina being joined in any suit with the ex-head of service, Mr. Steve Orosanye, who he has so much respect for, is a calculated attempt to hide the truth. You, as journalists, owe this nation to investigate and deliver behind-the-scene developments and criminal actions of people who hold especially public offices.
On the Orosanye suit. Mr. Maina has repeatedly said he is ready to defend himself given the enabling environment. If you are familiar with the matter, you would recall that his counsel, Ms. Esther Uzoma Esq, had made a statement in that regard.
For the benefit of doubt reproduce the statement below:
“The EFCC should come clean on the matter of my client, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina. When I appeared before His Lordship, Justice Kolawole on July 21, I made it clear that the EFCC was yet to file any charge as well as serve any summons on Dr. Maina.
“It is trite law that you cannot say an accused is on the run when there is no charge preferred against him or any invitation extended to him.
“During the hearing for the bail application, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN, wanted the court to direct me to produce Maina in court at the next sitting which I argued that there are clear procedures, which the EFCC is familiar with and should follow.
“Naturally, the court agreed with my submission on the position of law. Therefore, it is misleading for the EFCC in its statement of Monday to mislead the public that there exists an order for Maina to be produced in court when there is no invitation extended to him talk-less of a charge preferred against him by the commission.”
It may interest your newspaper (and journalists in the nation) to note that even Maina’s main accuser, Senator Kabiru Gaya, told The Sun newspaper of 12th April, 2016 that he (Gaya) lied against Maina and the Pension Reform Task Team.
These are his very words: “You remember I was a member of the 6th and 7th Senate and I am still a member of the 8th National Assembly. During the 7th Senate, we were able to do a probe of the pension scam. I was a co-chair of that committee. During that investigation, we were able to discover N195 billion stocked in accounts of various Departments, Agencies and Ministries (MDAs) for pension and they were not using those monies. These are kinds of money that form part of the TSA and it is a welcome idea. It is an excellent idea. Now, we can use money we have to achieve what we want.”
Maina and the PRTT served this country diligently, took pensioners out of the streets of Abuja, rescued pensioners from dying needlessly, therefore deserves better than this persecution.
1) If in about a year, out of 100 pension offices in the nation, we recovered both cash and properties worth N1.6trillion. All the recovered cash were lodged in the CBN out of which government used N74billion to fund the 2012 budget. Have we not tried?
2) The same Senators who alleged theft against us were petitioned for stealing from the same pension thieves we arrested and processed to the EFCC to prosecute (43 of them). The petitions were submitted to the EFCC and the ICPC. Why has any or the two agencies not prosecuted the Senators?
3) Weeks after we were forced out of the office, another N35billion was stolen from pension funds in the Office of the Head of Service. The ICPC did the investigation. What is the outcome of the investigation.
4) Today, in one of the two pension offices we investigated and caught some of the suspects standing trial, every working day, the sum of about N16million is stolen steadily. Why are you or those who should know not stop this economic haemorrhage?
5) The N195billion which Abdulrasheed Maina was alleged to have been stolen is in the TSA. Beyond these, a court of competent jurisdiction quashed all acts conducted against Maina and the PRTT. Why is that court order not obeyed.
6) Where is the balance of the cash we saved when we worked that was lodged in the CBN (over N200billion)?
So long as we worked with all our hearts and corrected structures that would have warranted a great future for hardworking public servants to enjoy their old age with their pension, the system we designed remains the nation’s best, but some persons who are used to stealing cheap pensioners money used the same money to chase us away, this nation will continue to suffer active pains.
Until you journalists ask questions, take your diggers and dig deeper and report beyond the surface, not until then can we correct some of these structural defects of our nation. By then, the colossal damage may have been fatally inflicted with no possible retrievals.
Today, please go and check, nothing less than N31trillion is stolen, is being stolen and will continually be stolen from the nation’s military, civilian pension offices, as well as, the local government. These monies can be retrieved. The current thieves are using what was stolen from us to fight those who can expose them. That is why they are trying Steve Orosanye and tying Abdulrasheed Maina to his stake. Forget not that Orosanye initiated the PRTT seeing the miniature success of pension management in the Ministry of Internal Affairs where Maina worked.