Even though Pres. Muhammadu Buhari is choosing to look the other way, there is enough evidence to make fair-minded Nigerians draw the conclusion that Attorney-General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, was not acting in the country’s best interests when he set in motion the process that led to the recall of former head of the Pensions Task Force Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
Thisday newspaper has obtained a document which shows that in August 2016, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officially notified Malami that it had indicted Maina.
What the document showed:
- Maina used fictitious names to operate several accounts with a particular bank.
- Some of the names he used included: Cluster Logistics’ Drew Investment and Construction Limited, Kongolo Dynamics Cleaning Limited, Dr Abdullahi Faizal, Aliyu Yeldu, and Abdulraheed Abdullahi Maina.
- The accounts linked to Maina had a total of N2.7 billion.
- 95 per cent of deposits made into the accounts were cash deposits made by bankers in their own names and other fictitious names. The report indicted the bank and especially its Private Banking Department for working in cahoots with Maina to commit fraud.
- Maina was not the only person indicted in the report. The EFCC investigation discovered that officials of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) allegedly siphoned pension funds totaling N14.4 billion between 2008 and 2013.
- Of the stolen monies, N5.8 billion was stolen through fictitious contracts, N829.9 million through ghost pensioners, N1.4 billion through collective allowances, among others.
Quote: “Additionally, investigation revealed that Abdulrasheed Maina was deeply involved in stealing the same pension funds he was tasked with protecting by using staff under him and their associated persons and OHCSF contractors to receive payments for non-existing biometric enrolment contracts, inflated contracts and collectives, amongst other questionable payments worth hundreds of millions of Naira, which are remitted in cash. It was also discovered that Mr. Maina was involved in a complex web of money laundering involving him, his family members, corporate entities used by him and his account officers and some staff of the private banking unit of the bank.”
That’s not all the EFCC told AGF Malami:
- The commission clearly stated that it made several attempts to interrogate Maina but he failed to honour the invitations before absconding.
- As a result the EFCC got an arrest warrant locally and sought the assistance of the Interpol to arrest him.
Recall that the Attorney-General had claimed in his letter to the Federal Civil Service Commission seeking Maina’s recall, that a court judgment had voided the process that led to Maina’s dismissal from service.
Even that has been proven to be false, as a copy of the judgment by Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court Abuja has shown that the court neither stopped the EFCC from investigating Maina neither did it clear him. The court only faulted the process that led to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Maina by the senate as it was not commenced in line with the constitution.
In fact, the judge asked Maina to voluntarily submit himself for investigations. Below are the crucial paragraphs of Justice Bello’s 2013 judgment:
“The court’s decision should not therefore send a wrong signal to the public that the senate does not have the power to cause an investigation within the purview of the powers conferred on it by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution with respect to the matters enumerated therein.
“It has such powers and when properly exercised, it can summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence and can also compel the attendance of any such person.
“Let me end the judgment by advising the applicant to submit himself voluntarily to the investigation by the senate in order to show that he respects constituted authority.
“It is the least expected of him as a public officers and as a citizen of Nigeria.”
Yet, the nation’s chief law officer ignored this ruling, misinterpreted the ruling in his letter and also ignored the EFCC advise to him three years later.
All of this begs the question: Why is Pres. Buhari still refusing to take actions against Malami, as well as the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita?