The Many Sins Of Maina
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday directed that controversial civil servant Abdulrasheed Maina be fired.
Maina, former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Task Team (PRTF) was restored and made director after being on the run for an alleged N2b scam, among others.
He was said to have been secretly reinstated into the civil service, with promotion, despite being wanted for alleged corruption.
Maina was an Assistant Director in charge of Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pension in the Federal ministry of Interior within the human resources department, before he was appointed the Chairman on Presidential Task Force by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The key mandate of the task force was to sanitise public pension sector that has been enmeshed in acute corruption, his position was like a sort of cop.
To his credit, Maina’s Team blew the whistle that led to the investigation, prosecution and conviction of John Yakubu Yusufu, then serving Assistant Director who stole over N2 billion belonging to Police pensioners.
The team also recovered almost N1.3 trillion stolen by pension thieves.
His trouble, however, started in November, 2011, when the Senate mandated its Joint Committee on Establishment, Public Service and States and Local Governments to conduct a public investigation into pension administration and management in the country in the last five years (2006-2010).
Maina spurned several invitations to appear before the committee to respond to the grave allegations against him.
On June 20, 2012, the joint committee submitted its report to the Senate, stating among other findings and observations, that Maina failed to appear before it to account for pension funds of the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensions Office (CIPPO) amounting to about N195 billion during the period.
Obviously pushed to the wall, the Senate issued a warrant for his arrest - an order that the Inspector-General of Police inexplicably failed to carry out.
Maina, however, scored a massive judicial victory against the Senate on March 26, 2013 as the Federal High Court granted a perpetual injunction restraining the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, from arresting him.
The court also set aside an earlier warrant of arrest issued on him aside, illegal, null and void.
During the heat of the controversy, the Senate drew a battle line between it and former President Jonathan.
Senators openly told Jonathan to choose between them or Maina.
The upper legislative chamber said Jonathan risked dire consequences if he failed to end Maina’s stay in office.
The then Senate President , David Mark during plenary when the issue of Maina was discussed said: ’We have been pushed to the wall. Nobody in this country will be left to go scot-free if he is associated with Maina. It doesn’t matter who is behind Maina, it is not for me to know whether somebody is behind Maina or not, but no matter who is behind Maina, we are not going to accept it."
Jonathan later carved-in and sacked Maina for absconding from duty for three days and failure to respond to summons.
Maina subsequently fled the country to escape arrest and sought refuge in Dubai.
He , however, said, he fled the country because the pension cabal, which he exposed as the chairman of the PRTF might kill him.
While in Dubai, he instructed his lawyer to file a case in the Industrial Court against his illegal dismissal from service by the Office of Head of Service and Federal Civil Service Commission. The case is still subsisting.
In 2015, he was placed on the wanted list of International Police (INTERPOL) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC said Maina was wanted for his role in the fraudulent biometric contracts through which himself and former Steve Oronsaye, the former head of service, and two others, allegedly stole over N2bn of pension funds.
The agency stressed that the suspects are facing a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence before the Federal High Court Abuja .
Nothing was heard about him until some few weeks ago, when news filtered in that he has been reinstated as a Director in the Ministry of Interior.
What was particularly worrisome is the public exchange of blames between the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita and the Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulraham Dambazau (rtd).
And more shameful still is the involvement of the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami whose name is almost always mentioned in every allegation of infamy in this administration.
Senate has alreday commenced investigation of the circumstances surrounding the return and reinstatement of Maina into the civil service
The lawmakers at the plenary on Tuesday took turns to condemn those in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who they said were rubbishing the anti-corruption campaign of the government.
They asked why someone who absconded from service as assistant director could be discreetly reinstated as director.
They therefore set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter.
Maina has again gone into hiding, with many insinuating that he has already fled the country.
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