Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday sealed-off a palatial mansion owned by the embattled former chairman of now defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina.
The property, located at No. 10 Amisi Musa Street within the Jabi Lake area, had ‘EFCC keep off’ inscriptions on the extended fence, as at the time Dambazau visited.
The EFCC is investigating Maina over alleged mismanagement of N2 billion pension funds. The whopping sum was alleged to have been misapplied through fraudulent biometric contracts in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
“Our findings confirmed that he paid $2 million for the house in cash in one day when he was the chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team.
“Investigation showed that the house was sold to him in June 2012 by one Adamu Modibbo. It is located at 10, Amisi Musa Street, Jabi Lake Area. The house was bought at the time he was in charge of pension reform,” The Nation newspaper had quoted the EFCC.
Angered by the controversial reinstatement of Maina into the public service, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday queried the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.
In a memo to the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF), Buhari also ordered the immediate disengagement of Maina from the services of the Federal Government after it was confirmed that he had sneaked back from his hideout and resumed duty at the Ministry of Interior in Abuja.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Buhari has also ordered full investigation into the circumstances in which Maina was recalled to the service.
“President Buhari has demanded for a report from the HoSF on the processes which led to the sack of the embattled former chairman. In a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the President equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.
“The report is to be submitted to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the end of work today, Monday, October 23, 2017,” Adesina said.
Meanwhile, Oyo-Ita has debunked media reports alleging that her office approved the re-instatement of Maina and posted him to the Ministry of Interior.
Mr. Mohammed Manga, Assistant Director (Media Relations), OHCSF, refuted the reports in a statement he issued on Monday in Abuja.
“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation wishes to inform the public that the re-instatement and posting of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina never emanated from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“Consequently, the purported re-instatement and posting by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is totally erroneous and misleading,” the statement read.
The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd), had at the weekend confirmed the resumption of duty by Maina, as an Acting Director in his ministry.
The confirmation came in a statement issued by the Press Secretary to the minister, Mr. Ehisienmen Osaigbovo.
In the statement, Dambazzau denied being part of those behind the said re-instatement but affirmed that Maina was posted few days ago to the Ministry of Interior by the Office of the Head of Service on an acting capacity to fill a vacancy created following the retirement of the Director heading the Human Resources Department in the Ministry.
Maina was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman of the task force in 2010 to check the corruption in the country’s pension system.
The Nigeria Police in 2012 had accused him of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others.
Following the allegation, the Federal Civil Service Commission reportedly dismissed him for “absconding from duty.” Maina was arraigned in absentia by the EFCC, which declared him wanted in 2015.
In the heat of the crisis, the embattled Maina fled the country to escape arrest by the police and other security agencies who were on his trail.
Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman of the anti-graft agency in a statement at the weekend, said Maina remained on the commission’s wanted list.
EFCC declared Maina wanted over alleged N2 billion pension biometric scam in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
In the face of the declaration, however, Maina ‘surreptitiously’ returned to the country, and was reinstated into the civil service as Acting Head of Department in the Ministry of Interior.
The EFCC had insisted that the embattled ex-pension reform boss remained a wanted person.
The embattled ex-pensions chairman, who is yet to be arrested, has reported gone into hiding.
A source within the anti-graft agency was quoted as saying that Maina was moving around town in a bulletproof Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle and other expensive vehicles.
The source said, “We have traced him to a hotel in Kaduna where he went to spend the weekend; we know that the DSS is protecting him and the DG DSS, deployed men to protect him. But make no mistake, we will arrest him, already we’ve frozen all his accounts.”
“He stays in a property which is a DSS safe house. He moves around in a convoy of about two or three vehicles. I personally saw him alighting from a Range Rover SUV last week with about four DSS officials.”