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”.

Obasanjo, NANS Call On Buhari To Punish Officials Involved In Maina’s Recall

The last may not have been heard about the controversy surrounding reinstatement of fugitive former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, as Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on President Muhammodu Buhari to sanction those behind the secret returned into the civil service.

Obasanjo said Mr. Maina’s secret reinstatement was not consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari’s avowed war on corruption.

This call was made by the former president while speaking at the 2017 Foundation Day Public Lecture titled: “Corruption and the Challenges of the African Child” on Saturday in Ibadan.

He also warned Mr. Buhari that there must not be any “sacred cows” in the fight against corruption.

“Corruption must be punished, and must be seen to be punished.

“Any accomplice in corruption and cover-up and any failure to punish must also earn punishment.

“We cannot afford to have sacred cows in the fight against corruption. The Maina saga should never have been allowed to occur. It is not in tandem with the fight against corruption,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

Also reacting, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS asked the federal government to ‘swiftly with unrestrained alacrity’ suspend all heads of commission and ministries complicit in the secret reinstatement.

The union warned that it will go on nationwide protest if its demands are not met within seven days.

“The Head of the Service of the Federation as well as the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission deserves nothing but immediate suspension from office and probe for allowing themselves to be caught in this cobweb of professional misconduct,” Chinonso Obasi, the president of the union said In a statement on Sunday.

Mr. Maina was in 2013 dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission for absconding from office. He is accused of leading massive corruption of about N2 billion when he served as chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team.

Afterwards, he turned fugitive, as the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sought his arrest.

Since the news of his recall broke, Mr. Maina has gone back into hiding. Although his recall has been rescinded by President Buhari, the president is yet to act on a report by the Head of Service on how the fugitive was recalled into the civil service.

The Nigerian senate last week asked Mr. Buhari to bring those behind the reinstatement to book without further delay.

Source: Premium Times

Jonathan Blasts Buhari For Linking Him To Maina’s Return

Former Nigeria President, Goodluck Jonathan has described as “absurd” attempts by the current administration to link him to the scandalous return to the country and reinstatement into a senior position in public service of Abdulrasheed Maina.

According to Jonathan, the fact that efforts were being made to connect him to the scandal underscored how “uncoordinated and rudderless” the Buhari administration has become.

Spokesperson to the former President, Ikechukwu Eze said this on Wednesday night.

“Are they saying it is President Jonathan that flew him back into Nigeria and promoted him in two levels ahead of where he was as at 2013 when he fled the from civil service?” 

He added, “They should stop insulting Nigerians or seeing them as fools.

Maina, who was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on allegations of courting billions in public funds for his own use when he headed the Pension Reform Task Force, was mysteriously recalled to the workforce during the weekend.

The pension funds scandal broke out during the last administration of Jonathan and the government took disciplinary steps against Maina by dismissing him from service.

Maina was an assistant director at the time of his dismissal.

The presidency, in a statement by Garba Shehu Wednesday night, said top officials of the Jonathan administration benefitted from the funds Mr. Maina allegedly stole from pension funds.

Jonathan’s spokesperson said the Buhari administration officials should waste little time in bringing out any evidence of connivance between Jonathan and Maina if they have it.

He added, “There’s no need to warn that they will bring evidence out or that everything will be revealed on a later date.

“They should present the evidence to Nigerians now.

“The Maina family spoke about how he returned to the country and they made it very clear that Buhari officials were the ones that orchestrated his return.”

Source: Premium Times

Now That President Buhari Is Found To Be Corrupt….

By Philip Obin

President Buhari is probably fighting a lone war against corruption in high places, as a large number of those working with or around him are not just corrupt but very corrupt, making things just too difficult for him.

And you do not expect him to employ the fire brigade approach and get consumed, too.

If you truly understand how bad, rotten and corrupt the system has been over the decades, you probably wouldn’t be expecting President Buhari to perform the kind of miracle we all expect him to, as expunging corruption from Nigeria’s system cannot be a day’s job.

As we should know, corruption is a terrible and rugged fighter that will fight with the last drop of its blood, especially when you employ the top-down approach of fighting it. It will always fight back, firing on all cylinders.

Their strategy now is to paint President Buhari ‘corrupt’ too, so we can say “they are all the same,” and then naturally desire to go back to the old order; and they have almost succeeded, with the events playing out recently.

Remember also President Buhari had lamented how corruption is fighting back over and over since he started the fight, but we seem not to pay adequate attention to really understand him.

While assuring that Nigeria is determined to emerge victorious in the war against corruption, Buhari told the world that corrupt Nigerians had built a formidable arsenal of illicit wealth, which they had deployed against the fight on diverse fronts.

Consequently, I enjoin us not to be ignorant of the vices of corruption, even as I urge President Buhari to up his game, and redraft his anti-corruption strategy so that his efforts may not be wasted.

VP Osinbajo once said that if President Buhari lost the war on corruption the consequences would be bad for Nigeria

“The effect of corruption on Nigeria is, of course, unquantifiable. Aside from soiling Nigeria’s corporate image in the international community, all the social, economic and political structures in the country have been ruined by corruption. Social services and infrastructure are in a shambles. The people are pauperized as the ordinary people are always the victims. While the people wallow in abject poverty and want, members of the political class and their business class associates bask in stupendous stolen wealth.” – The Guardian

In summary, let us be on the lookout for their strategies and see things from a different perspective while contributing our individual quota to the fight against corruption.


Cabals Behind Our Son’s Ordeal, Says Maina’s Family

The family of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, has accused some elements within the government of blackmailing their son.

Maina, who President Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered his sack, was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2015 after the police accused him of mismanaging over N100 billion pension funds.

He fled the country to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to avoid arrest and prosecution, leading to his sack as Assistant Director in the Ministry of Interior by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Maina eventually returned from self exile only to be posted to his former ministry and was given double promotion from Assistant Director to acting Director.

But at a news conference Wednesday in Kaduna, Aliyu Maina, spokesman of the Maina family, accused a “cabal” for blackmailing their son and for using the EFCC to seal off their property in Kaduna.

According to the family, it was Maina’s noble efforts that made him enviable to the present administration which brought him to assist in its “change agenda”.



PDP Flays Buhari’s Reinstatement of Ex-Pension Boss, Maina

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday berated Federal Government’s decision reinstating instead of arresting former Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Maina was allegedly reinstated into Federal Ministry of Interior, a situation that has been greeted with serious condemnation from Nigerians who sees the development as against President Muhammodu Buhari anti-graft war.

In a statement issued by the party’s Spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, in Abuja, said the present administration has shown that it has penchant for shielding known criminals.

He said, “It is in the light of this that the PDP wishes to state that we are not too shocked at the steps taken by the administration of the All Progressives Congress in reinstating a supposed criminal and fugitive, Abdulrasheed Maina to office instead of getting him arrested

“Birds of a feather flock together. All people of good conscience will not forget in a hurry that Maina, who was given an assignment by the last administration of the PDP to superintend the now defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, dipped his hands into the jar and helped himself to N100 billion of what he was supposed to safeguard.

“With good conscience at fighting corruption, the PDP government then mandated the anti-corruption agencies to perform their constitutional duty. Maina fled, only to resurface in the country four months ago under the Buhari administration.

“As a party of good conscience, we wish to condemn in strongest terms the penchant of the administration of President Buhari to giving safe haven to known criminals while hoodwinking Nigerians that it’s fighting corruption.”

He added that the party was appalled that the alleged reinforcement of financial corruption by this government might soon lead to the demise of this nation “if the celestial does not intervene.”

Just In: Buhari Orders Immediate Disengagement of Ex-Pension Director, Maina From Service

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate disengagement from service of Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.

This was conveyed through a statement signed by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Mr. Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday.

According to Adesina, the directive was contained in a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita

Adesina stated that the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and demand that the report of the probe be submitted to the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work today.

Recall that Mr. Maina reinstatement has raised serious dust putting the anti-corruption war of President Buhari in doubt.

The Return of Abdulrasheed Maina, By ‘Fisayo Soyombo

Abdulrasheed Maina cannot hide forever. Neither he nor the people who helped him circumvent justice in 2013 gave this a thought when he escaped to Dubai. But as he must have found out already, retreating from justice is a big damage to the self rather than the law; and no matter the wealth of cash, power, connections and legal arsenal at anyone’s disposal, clean hands remain the only guarantee of freedom.

Maina — Once the Manna from Heaven

Although he was already director of the Customs, Immigration, Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO), Maina was in obscurity until he was plucked in 2010 by Steve Oronsaye, then head of Service of the Federation, to chair the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), after a verification exercise in June of the same year revealed the biggest fraud, till date, in the federal civil service. In that position, he helped uncover the looting of more than N100 billion pension funds at the pension offices of the Head of Service and the Police. From then on, Maina has gone against everything he seemed to have stood for.

Sani Teidi Shuaibu, former director, Pension Unit, Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF); Phina Ukamaka Chidi, his deputy; Aliyu Bello, personal assistant to Shuaibu; Abdul Mohammed, assistant cash pay officer, HOSF Pension Unit; and some 30 other civil servants worked in cahoots to loot more than N100 billion. To do this, they paid millions of naira to ghost pensioners by recalling the names of dead workers and opening fictitious accounts; recruited their friends, and friends of their friends as pensioners; conducted fictitious verification exercises for which N400 million was spent monthly; awarded multibillion-naira fictitious contracts to companies and individuals who took a cut and returned the rest; and registered fake companies of their own to which they paid billions for doing nothing.

In that moment, Maina was just like the Biblical manna from heaven. His team found the looters and handed them over to anti-corruption agents and government prosecutors. The success of the team, many people agree, was due largely to Maina’s brilliance. But brilliance was soon tinged with greed, and Maina became obsessed with enriching himself. For starters, he duplicated the thieving model of the looters he helped government to apprehend. It is still hard to imagine how he exposed others, yet thought he would never be.

Guilty In the Eyes of the Public

Till date, Maina is innocent in the eyes of the law. But that’s where it ends. In the court of the public, his guilt was a long-established fact — because of his public conduct in the aftermath of the allegations against him.

On numerous occasions at the peak of his probe by the legislature in 2012, Maina concocted all manners of excuses, including ill-health and tight schedule, to avoid appearing before the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment, Public Service and Local Government Administration, mandated by the upper chamber to investigate pension administration dating back to 1999. After reaching its wits end, the committee mandated Mohammed Abubakar, the then inspector-general of Police (IGP), to compel him to attend its next sitting. Not even the IGP could bring Maina to the Senate, leaving the Senate with no other option but to issue a warrant of arrest against him. Rather than defend himself, Maina travelled to Dubai the following year, never to make a return (although he has sneaked in and out of the country a few times). Since becoming the fugitive that he now is, Maina has been declared wanted by the EFCC and INTERPOL.

A Shocking Rehabilitation

Despite spending almost all of the last four years in Dubai, Maina, formerly an assistant director in the civil service, has managed to earn himself a recall — and unbelievably — a promotion — to the post of director at the Ministry of Interior. It was supposed to be a secret affair until PREMIUM TIMES found out. There is a plan to rehabilitate Maina; and those who should know have named Abdulrahman Dambazau, minister for Interior; Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s cousin and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, as the protagonists. It is a shame that this is happening in an administration that sold the anti-corruption project to the electorate in 2015. How, then, is Buhari better than Goodluck Jonathan, who granted state pardon to convicted looter Diepreye Alamieyeseigha?

Buhari’s hard-line supporters have argued that the appointment must have happened without his knowledge, but even that is big indictment. If such controversial figure is made director and the president is unaware, then he is a spectator in his own government! Dambazau, the HoS and the Federal Civil Service Commission could only have colluded to sneak Maina into the Interior Ministry because they knew they could get away with it. And, if, two days after Maina’s promotion became a media item, the president is still unaware, or is aware but hasn’t taken action, Nigerians can count themselves victims of political fraud by President Buhari and the APC.

From Grace to Grass

Most corruption cases in public offices are black-and-white affairs. The culprits are usually people who deliberately set out to amass wealth for themselves at the expense of the people. If they enjoy some public goodwill, it is because of the extent to which they have used their ill-gotten wealth in ingratiating themselves with the people. It is usually the case of darkness embarking on an inordinate search for light. Rarely does it happen, as it has with Maina, that light drowns its own luminousness with darkness.

That Maina began so well as an anti-corruption crusader only to end up the way he has, should worry anyone genuinely interested in this country’s progress. If policemen are found engaging in armed robbery, it would be hard to sell the argument that we aren’t all thieves. The Maina example makes it more difficult for the few conscientious individuals in power to earn public trust. In fact, the incorruptible among us could start wondering if they would someday be consumed by the very ill they’re fighting. The peculiarity of this case to the mental setup of this government’s anti-corruption war is one reason the president must invalidate this promotion. Buhari cannot afford to handle Maina in the same manner he did Babachir Lawal. Nigerians are watching, and counting.

‘Fisayo Soyombo, editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo.


EFCC Renews Manhunt For Ex-Pension Director, Maina

Former chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, who has been reportedly re-absorbed into the civil service, maybe arrested soon, sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have revealed.

An online newspaper, Premium Times, reported yesterday that Maina, who has been a fugitive since he was declared wanted by the EFCC and the Nigeria Police Force in 2013, had been readmitted into the Federal Civil Service, despite an ongoing court case instituted against him by the anti-graft agency.

According to reports, “the news of the reinstatement first filtered through a congratulatory message for Mr. Maina by a group called League of Civil Society Organisations which commended the federal government for the reinstatement.”

Sources at the EFCC, confirmed that Maina has already resumed, but declined to speak further on his reinstatement.

Instead, one of the sources said the EFCC would intensify efforts to ensure that the pending case is pursued to a logical conclusion. The source further said the anti-graft agency might soon launch a manhunt for Maina, who he said had a case to answer.

“Yes, we have heard about the fact that he (Maina) is back and this time as a director. We have also confirmed this to be true. We will not join issues with anyone, but we will professionally ensure that the right thing is done.

“Maina is still a fugitive and has a case to answer. In the coming days, we will decide on our next line of action. But one thing is sure; he will not get away. We will pursue the ongoing case in court and if need be, we will declare him wanted. That is all I can tell you for now,” the source said.

Meanwhile,  a family member of Maina who confirmed that the embattled Borno born civil servant has resumed duties. He did not express any shock, instead, insisted that he was innocent until proven guilty.

In 2012, Maina was accused of leading a massive pension fraud scheme amounting to more than N100 billion.

Recall that he was drafted by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2010 to sanitise what it described as a corrupt pension system.

Based on the allegation of corruption, Maina was invited by the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service, Establishment and State and Local Government Administration.

The Senate upon the completion of its investigation issued a warrant of arrest against Maina. Snubbing the panel, he sued the Senate and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar. Thereafter, he went into hiding after being declared wanted by the police.

Maina was subsequently dismissed by the Head of Service for allegedly absconding from duty and attempting to evade arrest and charged to court.

Maina was on July 21, 2015 charged by the EFCC alongside Stephen Oronsaye and two others before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence.

While Mr. Oronsaye and the two other accused were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Maina was at large.

Source: Sunday Sun

Maina Reinstatement: CSOs Question Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Fight

The anti-corruption fight of President Muhammodu Buhari’s administration has again been questioned by the reinstatement of former Chairman of defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service.

The Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, have condemned the new development describing it as a serious dent on the Federal Government’s sincerity to end corruption in the country.

It has been reported how Mr. Maina was secretly reinstated into the Ministry of Interior despite being wanted by the anti-graft agency, EFCC, over a multi-billion naira pension fraud since 2013.

The Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, in a statement on Sunday exonerated himself from the reinstatement. He said Mr. Maina was posted on to fill a vacancy created following the retirement of the Director heading the Human Resources Department in the Ministry.

He blamed Mr. Maina’s recall on the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission.

This development has incurred the wrath of Civil Society Organisations who question the potency of the anti-corruption mantra of the current administration.

The coordinator, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Olanrewaju Suraj, said the reinstatement signifies a major setback in the fight against corruption.

“This is a setback not only for the anti-corruption war but also for some of us who have been advocating against corruption,”

“It is completely demoralising and also before the international community, it pitches the anti-corruption war as a mere fluke that is been used by this government without any commitment or sincerity.

“It further explains that it is only EFCC that is genuinely fighting corruption and government is merely latching on the achievements of EFCC.”

Mr. Suraju accused the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, as the architect of reinstatement of a civil servant who has “disobeyed the three arms of government.”

“Maina has defied the three existing arms of this government. The 7th Assembly summoned Maina severally but he defied and failed to appear before them over the period for which they tried to investigate his activities in the pension tax fraud. The Judiciary has asked that he should appear based on the charges of EFCC, he has failed to do that. In the course of the investigation, EFCC which is an executive body tried severally to invite Maina to come and answer some of the allegations and issues, he never responded and only ran out of the country to Dubai where he spent the stolen money lavishly.

“For this government not only to bring him back behind the back behind the doors but surreptitiously admit him back him back into the system and promoting him from the position of Assistant Director further confirms that the Minister of Interior is the architect of the shenanigan.”

He added that the “EFCC should immediately declare him wanted and they should go to any length to ensure that he is arrested and brought to court for further prosecution.”

Similarly, Chido Onumah, Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, noted that the anti-corruption war becomes a problem when the government keeps working for and against itself.

“It’s quite unfortunate. Sometimes you wonder why the federal government continues to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to the war against corruption.

“It creates problem for the government because corruption is not only about perception, it’s about belief. If people don’t feel that the government is sincere about the fight against corruption, it becomes problematic.”

Mr. Onumah asked the presidency to answer questions that have arisen from the reinstatement while charging EFCC to swing to action on the information at hand.

“The EFCC has to follow up on this case,” he said. “Going by their words that he is on their wanted list; that means he has a case to answer with them. Now that he is in the country, we hope that they will do the needful and let the public know the outcome of their own investigation.”

Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, asked the EFCC to lay the facts on the issue he described as “highly controversial.”

Mr. Musa said he is skeptical about the sincerity of members of the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration who looked into the case in 2013.

“There are lots of confusion about this issue. We (Nigerians) need to see a report either from EFCC or ICPC indicating that the man has done something wrong. If the National Assembly has any report on the investigations they have done, let them make the report public. If he has not done anything wrong and it’s just a calculated attempt by those corrupt people who are stealing pension money, then it’s unfair.

“If there is no report by these agencies, it would be unfair just to believe the corrupt members of the National Assembly of that time. If there is such report and the government went ahead to do what they have done, then we will now raise our concern.”

The presidency and the EFCC are yet to comment on Mr. Maina’s reinstatement.

Source: Premium Times