The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay(SAN), and human right lawyer, Femi Falana asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the arrest of the wanted ex-chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The wanted ex-pension reforms chairman had fled Nigeria in 2015 after he was indicted for allegedly perpetrating fraud amounting to N2 billion.
Surprisingly, when he later returned to the country, he was posted to the Ministry of Interior based on the recommendation of the Head of Service and was given double promotion.
In a latest development, the spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr.Wilson Uwujaren, on Sunday, October 22, said that Maina is still wanted.
Uwujaren, however, declined to comment further when asked if Maina would be arrested by the Commission.
But a picture of Maina being declared wanted remains on the EFCC website, www.efccnigeria.org.
The information of the website reads:
“The public is hereby notified that Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, whose photograph appears above, is wanted by the EFCC for offences bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretences.
“Dark-complexioned Maina is allegedly complicit in the over N2bn pensions biometric scam in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation. He remains at large after charges were filed against his accomplices.
“Anybody with useful information as to his whereabouts should contact the commission in its Enugu, Kano, Lagos, Gombe, Port Harcourt or Abuja offices.”
Reacting to the development, PACAC chairman, Sagay said Maina’s case cannot be swept under the cover given the gravity of his alleged offences.
“This man was accused of embezzling billions of naira meant for pensioners who had spent all their lives serving this country. One man took the money they should rely on in their declining years, subjecting them to misery and hopelessness.
“This is a moral and criminal issue. So, to hear that the man is in the country and somebody employed him means he is not the only criminal in the system. It means there is an accessory.
“Whoever was involved in employing him and then giving him promotion is an accessory after the fact to the crimes committed by this man if it is established that he is culpable. I don’t see why he escaped if he was not guilty.
“The EFCC should not just say they are aware; they should take action. The EFCC should now arrest him, interrogate him and if they can establish a case, prosecute him. They should also investigate all those involved in the reabsorbing and promotion of this man.
“If it established that they brought him back into the civil service despite knowledge of the man’s alleged crimes, they are also accessories after the fact and should also be arrested and prosecuted.”
In his reaction, human rights lawyer, Falana urged the EFCC to speedily prosecute Maina over alleged N100 billion pension fraud for which he was declared wanted for years.
He also called for the arrest of the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, and the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, for allegedly shielding the suspect from prosecution.
He said, “Mr. Maina was declared wanted by the EFCC because of his indictment in a pension scam. Now that he has been located, the EFCC has a duty to charge him without any further delay.
“The Head of Service and interior minister who shielded him from prosecution ought to be charged with aiding and abetting the felon.
“Those who recalled and promoted the fugitive ought to be sanctioned by President Buhari to serve as a deterrent to others who may wish to sabotage the war against corruption.”
The Minister of Interior has, however, denied involvement in the restatement and promotion of Maina.
In a statement issued by his press secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, on Sunday, October 22, Dambazau said Maina was recalled through the office of the head of service.