Maina Sues Magu, EFCC For Defamation Of Character

Former Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina has decided to sue the Chairman of the Economic and. Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu and the EFCC over allegation of defamation of character.

Maina accused the Magu and the EFCC through his counsel, Mr. James Onyilo, before a High Court of Justice, Lafia of granting press interviews which were slanderous, untrue and malicious.

In the writ of summons, Maina’s counsel asked the court for a declaration that the press interview granted Magu on November 30 and December 14, 2017 are defamatory, slanderous, untrue, injurious and intended to lower the reputation and integrity of the plaintiff in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and brought him to public ridicule, odium, contempt and derision.

He also asked the court to order the defendants to retract and publish an unreserved apology to the plaintiff in at least three daily newspapers within seven days from the day of the judgement.He wants the court to restrain the EFCC boss from making comments considered defamatory of the plaintiff.He asked for an order directing the defendants to pay jointly and severally, the sum of N10 billion ‎as damages for the publications.

In the statement of claim, Onyilo said, “the 1st defendant. (Magu) who has a personal score and vendetta to settle with the plaintiff using the instrumentality of the 2nd defendant‎ (EFCC), maliciously embarked on a campaign of calumny against the plaintiff.

‎Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted an interim forfeiture of a property thought to belong to Abdulrasheed Maina but upon investigation, the real owners of the property, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd has sort a leave to be joined in the ex parte motion filed by the EFCC seeking forfeiture of the said property which belongs to the company. Upon further investigation, it was realised that the said owners are known personalities in the Nigerian oil and property business.

 

VIDEO: Maina Demands 5% Of N1.6trn Recovered Pension Fund

Embattled former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, is back in the news in an apparent bid to stir up more controversy.

Speaking in an exclusive interview obtained by Channels Television, Maina is asking the Federal Government to pay him five per cent of the N1.6 trillion pension fund he and his team recovered for the government.

According to him, the demand is based on an agreement he had with the Head of Service before taking up the job.

The former pension boss also insisted that his reinstatement into the Federal Civil Service was based on the approval of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, the Federal Civil Service, and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Watch the video below:

Maina Should Be Given A Chance To Speak With Buhari – Robert Clarke

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clarke, has supported the idea that the embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, should be given a chance to speak with President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, there is a lot of rot in the system which indeed needs to be exposed and it would be to the advantage of the government if the president allows Maina a chance to explain things.

He made this position known Tuesday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily,while reacting to an exclusive interview of Maina in which he insisted that he was innocent of the allegations preferred against him.

“His action now is not to prove his innocence, his action now is to prove that there is a leakage in the system which needs to be covered up and he knows it – It is in the interest of government to call him down and let him speak and show the government where these leakages are.

“Maina has come out now to say that through this system I have been able to steal so much, now I want to help you to curb this system.

“Whichever language he uses, when you recover and you did not tell people and you did not return it, what does that mean,” Mr Clarke questioned.

“If I recover on behalf of government and I still keep the money, it means something else, it’s not recovering.

“If he participated in it, then he has to pay the price, if he did not participate in it and he is aware of it and never blew the whistle then, he is also as guilty.

“But I will agree with him to sit down with Mr President and let Mr President know that the system you are running, there are so many loop holes. That the civil servants in this country have walked through this system and are making a hell of money out of this system – So I agree with him, he should be given the opportunity”.

Mr Clarke also decried the state of the present government, noting that it indeed gives room for corruption.

He, therefore, opined that the system has to be changed from its roots in order to prevent more instance such as this, from rearing its head.

“The system of governance we have, gives room for corruption. This is a classic example where within the system, somebody can sit down and in a long period of time be stealing trillions, whereas, we are now going around the world begging to borrow trillions.

“The problem in Nigeria is that the system is rotten. Unless we change the system of governance, these areas of corruption will always rear their heads”.

Maina Was Not Dismissed From Civil Service – Lawyer

A lawyer for the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, Mr Muhammad Sani Katu, on Thursday stated that his client was not dismissed from the civil service.

He made this known while responding to an inquiry, as the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the case, commenced hearing.

Katu claimed that his client has been receiving his emoluments, adding that even as of a month ago he received files from the ministry to be treated by him.

The lawyer has also asked the committee to grant special leave for protection, asking all law enforcement agencies to allow Maina move freely to attend the hearing.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 23 dismissed Maina from the Federal Civil Service and demanded a full report of the circumstances of his recall.

His dismissal follows his return to the country and his alleged reinstatement into office which sparked reactions and outrages.

It can be recalled that the former pension’s boss was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N2billion pensions biometric scam in November 2015, a 24-count bothering on procurement fraud and obtaining money under false pretense.

He reportedly disappeared from public glare only to resurface in October 2017, to take charge as an Acting Director in the Ministry of Interior.

As the controversy deepened, some government offices were named as being involved in the reinstatement of the former pensions boss.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau accused the office of the Civil Service of the Federation, of reinstating him.

The Head of the Civil Service Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, however, countered the report and denied approving the reinstatement.

In a statement, she said the “purported reinstatement and posting by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is totally erroneous and misleading.

Oyo-Ita also stated that she had written to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, warning of the implication of reinstating Mr Maina.

In a leaked memo titled “Re: Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina,” and obtained by Punch, Oyo-Ita claimed she had met President Buhari on October 11 to warn against such actions.

Maina: Senate Indicts EFCC, Says 222 Properties “Shared”

 

The Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate the controversial reinstatement of former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdul-Rasheed Maina, has indicted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Senate, at the plenary on Thursday, further asked the ad hoc committee to probe into the whereabouts of the 222 properties seized from alleged pension fund thieves and kept in the custody of the EFCC.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, moved a motion to extend the probe to the seized properties in the EFCC’s custody, as they had been allegedly “shared.” He also asked for more time to carry out the assignment.

 

Paulker said, “The Senate notes that the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms headed by Maina, in the course of discharging its mandate, recovered about 222 houses, hotels, investment portfolios and properties from pension fund suspects in Abuja and other major cities across the country.

“The Senate equally notes that before Maina left, the pension reform task team recovered assets from alleged pension looters, working with the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, police and paramilitary agencies who executed the recoveries and thereafter, the EFCC took over custody of the recovered assets.

“The Senate further observed that the EFCC, as a member of the Maina-led pension tax force team, had the statutory powers to impound and take custody of assets.

“The Senate is alarmed that the total recovered assets from alleged pension thieves are reported to be allegedly shared by some interest groups.

“The Senate further notes that this revelation emerged during the current investigation by the ad hoc committee on the reinstatement of Maina and the committee equally received a petition on the recovered properties by the task force.”

Chairman of the probe committee therefore urged the lawmakers to expand the scope of the investigation and give the panel more time to carry out the exercise.

 

Attorney General ‘Disowns’ Maina Recall Letter

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied sending a letter to the Office of the Head of Service demanding the recall of the former chairman of presidential pension task team, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Mr. Malami said the last letter he “remembered” was dated January 19, 2017 and was meant to bring attention to all that was happening to Mr
Maina.

According to him “As at February 21, 2017, the letter giving clear directives of his reinstatement couldn’t have genuinely emanated from my office”.

 

Maina: AGF Malami Appears Before Senate Committee

The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is currently before  the Senate Ad-hoc committee constituted to probe the reinstatement of fugitive former civil servant, Abdulrasheed Maina.

The Senate had on October 24 mandated its committees on Establishment, Interior, Anti-corruption and Judiciary to investigate how the ex-pension boss was reinstated and promoted at the Ministry of Interior.

The committee is currently in a closed-door meeting with the AGF.

Details Later

 

Shocking!! Ex-EFCC Chairman, Others Implicated In Maina’s Scandal

Just when Nigerians are getting over the shock of Former Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and the country’s funds she looted, it seems the Maina Scandal would rock the country for the rest of the year as new reports continue to evolve implicating ex-heads of commissions including the commission whose duty is to stop crime.

A document revealed a breakdown of how pension funds were shared to finance pension verification teams to ‘South Africa, ‘Ghana’, and the 36 states’ of the federation, ‘zonal levels’ and others to syphon different sums of public funds into their bank accounts in the name of biometric verification.

Out of the N18.4million released to Maina for a trip to South Africa, the Director -General of Budget was allocated N3,056,000. The per diem for the trip to Ghana cost N9.1 million out of which a former Director of Defence Intelligence received N1,388,000 through his First Bank account.

Two female staff of EFCC got N1,275,000 each as part of the national cake. While those who went around the 36 states, allegedly collected N160,471,200 from Maina, a few others were paid N15,477,900 for going around the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The report gave the details of how Maina allegedly collaborated with former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mr Steve Oronsaye, and two others in N2billion pension funds allegedly mismanaged for biometric contracts. The N2billion was part of the looted N17billion cash. The others are Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited suspected as fronts. The report added: “Mr Oronsaye and Maina engaged the services of the following individuals to assist them in looting pension funds.

Osarenkhoe Afe: (charged to court together with Mr Maina & Oronsaye)  is an IT consultant who introduced Innovative Solutions to the OHCSF for biometric enrolment project. He stated that Mr Steven Oronsaye [former Head of Service) asked him to join the Pension Reform Committee headed by Mr. Abudulrasheed Maina.

Robert Ikazoboh: (Prosecution witness) is the CEO of Innovative Solutions & Projects Ltd – a company invited by OHCSF to offer services regarding biometric enrolment exercise. He stated that he was brought in to the project by Osa Afe. He also stated that Mr Afe verbally instructed him to work with 2 other companies namely Uptrach and Frederick Hamilton and further instructed him as to the amount to be paid to the companies whenever he received payments.

Ahmed Mazangari: (Already charged to court): is the owner of Xangees Technologies Ltd, an information technology consultancy firm and a friend of Maina’s brother, Khalid Biu. He was ‘engaged’ by the OHCSF through Maina based on ‘word of mouth’. He was tasked with the job of computerizing the pension payroll but in the process ironically ended up inserting his own 11 fake pensioners and was used by Maina to receive N153 million for a non-existing biometric contract which was withdrawn and handed over to Maina in cash after converting same to dollars through his brother, Khalid. Ahmed, his mother and company are presently standing trial. He stole N230 million as ghost pensioners’ payment from the OHCSF (including the biometric contract).

The report gave the details of how Maina had used some firms, individuals and many accounts to siphon pension funds. The EFCC said: “Investigation revealed that Mr. Maina fictitiously owned and operate the following accounts in the following names: Cluster Logistics, Drew Investment & Construction Ltd, Kongolo Dynamics Cleaning Ltd, “Dr” Abdullahi A. Faizal, Nafisatu Aliyu Yeldu and Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina.

“That analysis of the above-listed accounts revealed a total turnover of more than N2.7 billion.  It is important to note that 95% of deposits into the fraudulent accounts were cash deposits made by bankers in their own names and other fictitious names. “Investigation revealed that Mr Maina fraudulently opened and fictitiously operated all the accounts with the active connivance of bank staff namely: Danjuma Zubairu, Toyin Meseke (Account Officer to some of the accounts investigated), Khalid Ali Biu (Maina’s relation) and Abubakar Gombe (Account officer of one of the accounts  investigated) in Kaduna Branch.

“Forensic analysis of Toyin Meseke telephone handsets revealed several text messages and email correspondences regarding specific instructions on running the accounts from Abdulrasheed Maina. “Investigation revealed that Danjuma Zubairu (Group Head of Private Banking) mostly approved those transactions via telephone and email instructions from Maina. “That Toyin Meseke bought the sum of ($200,000) equivalent of N33,800,000 from one Bashir Mohammed Taura, a Bureau de Change operator, and instructed him to facilitate the delivery of same money to Abdulrasheed Maina in Dubai, U.A.E on 05/05/2014.

“Toyin Meseke also bought another sum of $250,000) equivalent of N42,500,000) from one Bashir Mohammed Taura, a bureau de Change operator and instructed him to facilitate the delivery of same money to Abdulrasheed Maina in Dubai U.A.E on 05/06/2014. “That Toyin Meseke facilitated the transfer of the total sum of N33,105,000 to ALNASRA BDC & JIEK BDC on behalf of Abdulrasheed  Maina from Cluster Logistics account for the purpose of buying U.S. dollar on 10/03/2014.  “That Toyin Meseke also facilitated the part liquidation of Maina’s fixed deposit of N100,850,000 and subsequent transfer to Neural Wax  BDC  on 07/07/2015 for buying U.S. dollars on behalf Abdulrasheed Maina and delivered same to one Mairo Bashir (Maina’s relation) of UBA Maitama Branch Abuja.

“That the total sum N26.5 million was paid to the Federal Housing Authority from Kongolo Dynamics Ltd and a balance of N4.4 Million was paid to Alhaji Tijjani Yusuf between 20/10/08 & 19/11/08 for the purpose of buying a property located at No.12, 11th Road Kado Estate Abuja owned by Abdulrasheed Maina. “That four bank drafts totalling N30 million were issued same day (15/03/2010) in favour of one Titus Adeboye from Kongolo Dynamics Ltd account. Mr Adeboye confirmed that the fund traced to him was for the purpose of acquiring a property for Mr. Maina (block of shops) located at C2 Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Kaduna.

“That Mr Abdulrasheed Maina bought another property located at No. l0 Amisi Musa Street, Jabi Abuja FCT from one Alhaji Adamu  Modibbo and paid the sum of $2m cash, an equivalent of N340 million in June 2012. “Finally investigation has established that all the accounts are linked to Mr. Maina either through his phone number, email address or transactions between the accounts and testimonies of the account officers/ bankers involved in this complex money laundering scheme. “A total number of eight GSM lines have been traced by the EFCC as the ones used by Maina to give instructions to banks, cronies and associates to launder the huge amount under investigation.

The numbers were listed by the anti-graft agency as 08098887733, 08037872471, 08142277550, 07037900714, 08106842813, 08091501002, +971552717234 and +971526294678. “Furthermore investigation also confirmed that the source of funds in the accounts could only be from those fictitious contracts and other bogus payments from government, particularly OHCSF Pension Department and CIPPO where Maina superintended at various times between 2008 and 2013, as no known existing and viable business was identified as source of funds into the account and the account officers confirmed same. “It is also pertinent to note that the Special Audit conducted by the Auditor-General of the Federation also confirmed those violations investigated by the commission.”

Those standing trial for the pension fraud in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation are Oronsaye; Maina; the Director of Finance and Account, Dr. Sani Shuaibu Teidi, Mrs. Phina Ukamaka Chidi, Deputy Director, Aliyu Bello, Special Assistant to Director of Administration, Olanipekun Emmanuel, Head of Final Account, Abdul Mohammed, Assistant Cash Pay Officer, Garbo Tahir, Cashier and M.K. Ahmed, Assistant Director, Variation. Others charged for abetting laundering are Osarenkhoe Afe; Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited;  Franklin Nwankwo and Eric D. Omoefe; one Abdullahi Omeiza (charged for his role in operating 13 pension accounts in 13 different banks with 13 different names; Alhaji Ali Abatcha and Elder Actor Zal, former President and Secretary General of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners.”

 

From Maikanti To Maina: What Next? By Azu Ishiekwene

It is one of the ironies of the times that those getting the worst deal from retirement savings are the most vulnerable, the people that the scheme is supposed to help.

Stories about pensioners dying in long waiting lines have moved from front pages to obscure spots, yet we’re often confronted with news of incredible stealing by public officials managing pension savings.

After months in hiding, former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Task Force, Abdulrasheed Maina, returned to the crime scene, hoping that we would have moved on from the allegation that he pocketed N2 billion from the fund.

Maina was an Assistant Director of Works, Customs, Immigration and Prisons in the Pensions Office when former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, recommended him to former President Goodluck Jonathan for a job.

Highly connected, Maina is the grandson of Mai Ali Dogo, the Emir of Biu (1920-1935) and his late father, Abdullahi Aliyu Biu, was an ambassador to Mali. But these were not qualifications for the pension job, a job that was clearly beyond him.

Asking Maina to head an inter-agency team on pension reform, which comprised senior officials from at least five other agencies – and whose job was to straighten out the pension system – was like inviting a carpenter to perform tooth-extraction.

So, this carpenter came with his chisel and hammer to finish the bloody job that charlatans before him had started.

Maina had no business going near the pension fund and if his appointees had bothered to look, they would have found enough wreckage in his own life to warn them.

As an Assistant Director – the lowest rung in the directorate in the Federal Civil Service – he was heading a small unit under the supervision of at least two other cadres of Directors.

He was on a salary of between N150,000 and N200,000 monthly; and even if he added every naira from his side hustle, the best he would have hoped for was a small apartment in the suburbs of Abuja and a neat tokunbo car.

But that would have been another Maina. Abdulrasheed Maina still managed to live the life, apparently, from the sweat of pensioners pining away from unpaid entitlements.

This Maina, a third league Director, paid $2 million cash to buy a house in Abuja. And it has now come to light that that $2 million property was only one in his collection of houses. As a fugitive, he escaped, not to his village in Biu, but to Dubai – that haven of princes – where he stayed for many months, plotting his triumphant return.

When he assumed office on a 30-month appointment to sort out the perennial pension mess, one of the major contracts awarded was for the emplacement of a biometrics system to cater for the estimated seven million plus registered pensioners, whose savings have been raided over the years in the name of “ghost workers.”

Maina actually claimed that he substantially cleaned up the system and exorcised the ghosts. He claimed that his committee recovered over N280 billion for the government, which was handed over to former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who in turn handed it over to former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for the treasury.

He claimed that he blocked loopholes in police pension, which had allowed officers to cream off N1 billion monthly and he actually carries around a hefty check stub to prove his claim.

He insists that he is, alas, the innocent victim of vested interests, including politicians, led by former Senate President David Mark, who waylaid him in the National Assembly, demanding his head on a saucer.

His story hardly passes the smell test, not because it may not contain grains of truth, but because his own lips are shimmering with oil from the spoils. The unnamed persons he is pointing at are not blameless; but while he is pointing one finger at them, four are pointing back at him. It’s a case of who got a bigger share of the pension pie.

I’m surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Assistant on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, an otherwise reasonable man, is talking as if Nigeria owes Maina an apology for the expose by PREMIUM TIMES that led to Maina’s removal this week.

If the government was not ashamed to reappoint a man on the EFCC’s wanted list, pay him salary arrears and move to promote him again, because he has not been convicted of any crime, we may as well ask Diezani Alison-Madueke to return and help tidy up the mess in the NNPC.

This is a shambles too many.

To be sure, pension assets have grown over the years, especially since the Pension Reform Act of 2004, which widened the pension net, expanded the market and established better regulation. Pension assets have also increased by over three-fold since 2009 to nearly N7 trillion with over N480 billion invested by fund administrators.

But the gains have been in spite of multiple scandals in public sector pensions, and the growing misery among public sector pensioners at federal and state levels. Virtually all those who were supposed to ease their pain have ripped them off.  A labour union president, one Ali Abatcha, even faced a trial over a N2.7 billion pension fraud.

In 2013, a former Director of Pensions Account in the office of the Head of Service was accused of offering a Senate committee chairman at the time N1 billion to look the other way in a pension scandal being investigated by the EFCC.

The investigation followed reports that civil servants had, over the years, creamed off N159 billion from the pension fund.

That was not all. In a ruling that showed that forlorn pensioners were still on a long way to hope, an Abuja court sentenced one of six federal officials accused of making away with N33 billion of police pension funds to two years in prison, with an option of N250,000 fine.

This scandalous ruling was, among other things, also a parable to Maina at the time of his appointment that he, too, could game the system and get away with a light touch. Yet, his restoration through the back door was more than he could have bargained for.

He’s been complaining since his removal, threatening to name names and to tell all. That is precisely what we need: to get Maina to tell us the full story about how an assignment to reform the pension system turned into a personal gold mine.

Buhari’s government of “change” cannot stop with removing Maina. With comparisons between Buhari and his predecessor, Jonathan, becoming worryingly shrill, failing to follow through quickly on the outcome of the presidential investigation into Maina’s second coming can only further damage his government’s reputation.

It was, to say the least, shocking that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Minister for Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, whose offices should have raised the flag, actually held the system at gunpoint to reinstate Maina, while the Head of Service and custodian of the rules, acted as a willing accomplice.

Coming one week after the face-off between the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the GMD of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, on the ugly state of affairs at the NNPC, the Maina expose is another test of the vital signs of Buhari’s government.

Taking out Maina and letting the kingpins go unpunished will not only embolden others; it will give the dangerous impression that the anti-corruption war is finally on life-support.

And just after the head-scratching on the Kachikwu-Baru saga, and lingering questions about Babachir Lawal and the delay in the release of the findings on the $43 million Ikoyi money, Buhari will struggle to convince the public that the heart of his anti-corruption war is still beating.

Speed kills, but in the increasingly perilous highway of Buhari’s cabinet, delay kills even faster.

FG Explains Why Maina Was Reinstated Despite Fraud Accusation

Abdulrahman Dambazau the Minister of Interior on Sunday gave explanations on how the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, was reinstated into the civil service.

Ehisienmen Osaigbovo the spokesman to the Minister made that statement.

The statement said, “The ex-Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Team on Pension Reforms Abdulrasheed Maina was posted a few days ago to the Ministry of Interior by the Office of the Head of Service in an Acting capacity to fill a vacancy created following the retirement of the Director heading the Human Resources Department in the Ministry.

“For the avoidance of doubt, issues relating to discipline, employment, re-engagement, posting, promotion and retirements of Federal Civil Servants are the responsibility of the Federal Civil Service Commission and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, of which no Minister exercises such powers as erroneously expressed in this publication.

It is understood that Maina’s last posting was with the Ministry of Interior, and that is probably why he was re-posted back to the Ministry.

“It is, therefore, improper for anybody to think that a Minister could exercise such powers or influence the process of Discipline, Re-engagement, and Deployment of any civil servant to his Ministry or any other Ministry for that matter. Again such responsibility is that of the Federal Civil Service Commission and/or the Head of Civil Service,” Dambazau said.

Maina was declared wanted after he fled the country based on the accusation that he mismanaged N2 billion pension fund.

His declaration as a wanted person by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is still on the anti-graft agency’s website as reported by The Eagle Online on Sunday.