Saturday, July 9

I’m not wanted by EFCC, I’m ready to defend myself - Maina

I’m not wanted by EFCC, I’m ready to defend myself - Maina

Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), has denied being on the wanted list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In November 2015, EFCC had declared him wanted over his alleged role in the N2bn pensions biometric contracts scam, and listed him on its website as one of its wanted persons.

Three months earlier, Maina was charged alongside three others before a federal high court on a 24-count bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining money under false pretences.

But responding to ‘EFCC’s 7 most wanted fugitives’ — a report published by TheCable on Friday, Maina said the anti-graft agency never listed him in the charges but “merely mentioned” his name.

“I am not wanted by the EFCC or any anti-graft agency in the country. Secondly, and important too,  I was never at any time joined in any suit with the ex-head of service, Mr. Steve Oronsaye, who I have much respect for,” he said.

“The EFCC did not list me in the charges but merely mentioned my name over the biometric exercise which I am ready to defend myself [on] given the enabling environment.”

He further said his lawyer, Esther Uzoma, had issued a statement to EFCC demanding his exoneration of the alleged crime.

The lawyer’s statement reads in part: “The EFCC should come clean on the matter of my client, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina. When I appeared before His Lordship, Justice Kolawole on July 21, I made it clear that the EFCC was yet to file any charge as well as serve any summons on Dr. Maina. It is trite law that you cannot say an accused is on the run when there is no charge preferred against him or any invitation extended to him.

“During the hearing for the bail application, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN, wanted the court to direct me to produce Maina in court at the next sitting which I argued that there are clear procedures, which the EFCC is familiar with and should follow.

“Naturally, the court agreed with my submission on the position of law. Therefore, it is misleading for the EFCC in its statement of Monday to mislead the public that there exists an order for Maina to be produced in court when there is no invitation extended to him talk-less of a charge preferred against him by the commission.”

Maina also claims that his “main accuser”, Kabiru Gaya, a senator, told The Sun Newspaper of April 12, 2016 that “he lied against me and the Pension Reform Task Team”.

“These are his very words: ‘You remember I was a member of the 6th and 7th Senate and I am still a member of the 8th National Assembly.
During the 7th Senate, we were able to do a probe of the pension scam. I was a co-chair of that committee. During that investigation, we were able to discover N195 billion stocked in accounts of various Departments, Agencies and Ministries (MDAs) for pension and they were not using those monies.

These are kinds of money that form part of the TSA and it is a welcome idea. It is an excellent idea. Now, we can use money we have to achieve what we want.”

The ex-pensions boss also made available to TheCable, a court order vacating the order for his arrest.

Maina is on the wanted list of INERPOL and has been away from Nigeria since 2013.

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