Can of Worms as NASS Begins Probe into ‘Mainagate’

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has denied that he ordered the reinstatement of the former Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The AGF, who appeared before an investigative panel of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Thursday, claimed that Maina’s case was “work in progress as of October 5” when it was reported that he had returned to office at the Ministry of Interior.
Also, startling revelations emerged from submissions he made to the Senate ad-hoc Committee investigating the circumstances surrounding the surreptitious re-appearance and re-absorption into the civil service of former Pension Task Force Chairman.
In what appeared a twist in the investigation, the AGF is said to have told the committee that his signature on the memo which sought the re-instatement of Maina into the civil service was forged.
Malami, a source close to the committee which is sitting behind closed door, insisted that he did not author the memo seeking the reabsorption into the civil service.
The AGF was said to have claimed that desperate people bent on smearing his image might have been behind the alleged forgery.
Malami, in a 13 page memorandum dated November 14, 2017, which he submitted to the committee, linked over 270 allegedly missing recovered properties and assets to Maina.
The 270 properties which are yet to be accounted for, Malami said, were recovered from pension fraudsters when Maina headed the Task Team.
The weighty document said to have been submitted to the Chairman of the investigative panel, Senator Emmanuel Paulker personally by Malami, listed the properties to include real estates and high class vehicles.
The AGF raised posers which tacitly indicated that the recovered properties and assets were likely to have been fraudulently shared by top government officials and their cronies.
He specifically mentioned a property situated at No. 42, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, which he claimed is worth N1bn but was allocated to senior lawyer to buy.
The No. 42 Gana Street, Maitama property was said to have been recovered from Dr. Shaibu Teidi, a former Director of Pensions Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
The AGF said Nigerians were “blind folded” from getting answers to the following two pertinent questions: “a. What happened to the monies recovered from the syndicate? What about the 270 properties comprising of real estate and vehicles one of which is a mansion worth N1bn situated at No 42 Gang Street Maitama Abuja allegedly given to a senior lawyer meant to crave for his ‘ “buy in” in maximizing media hype aimed at distracting the attention at the public pension fraud?
“The perceived compromises in the investigation, prosecution and charges of real syndicate over the pension related matters.
“Let me conclude by commending the committee led by its Chairman, Distinguished Senator Emmanuel Paulker for the opportunity afforded me to speak to Nigerians directly by rising above the conspiracy of the pension predators that set in aggressive press negative campaign against me and allowing me an opportunity to address Nigerians thereby upholding the national interest as against the interest of the chain of pension predators.
The Senate, however, indicted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the properties.
The Senate at plenary Thursday 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.
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.
The upper chamber also expanded the scope of work of the committee to include tracing the whereabouts of recovered properties and assets.
Paulker, whose committee was given one month to submit the report of its findings, asked for an additional time of two weeks. The request was granted
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Maina received his salaries despite being sacked for years.
This was disclosed by his lawyer, Thursday.
Speaking at the House of Representatives public hearing, the lawyer, Mohammed Katu, said Maina’s salary had not been stopped as he was still working.
When asked by lawmakers if Maina was still getting paid, he said, “Yes. Maina continued to work even after his dismissal.
“As at last month, about 23 files were sent to him, in his capacity as acting Director, even while he was absent.”
He further explained that Maina had to disappear because “there was a serious threat to his life.”

Author: News Editor

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