The last may not have been heard about the one of the most controversial corruption saga in this administration after the Head of Service Mrs. Winnifred Oyo Ita revealed to the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee investigating the Disappearance, Reappearance, Reinstatement and Promotion of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force alleged to have stolen over N2 billion pension fund.
As the hearing began with the opening presentations of the principal heads of the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government under investigation for their alleged roles in the Maina Saga, it was instructive to note that the Head of Service who is the Chief Civil Servant saddled with the statutory responsibility of managing the career path of all civil servants in the country stated under oath that she was apparently overridden in the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina because she never approved nor authorised his return to any Ministry after he was formally sacked for absconding from duties in 2014.
“After I had received several correspondences over the issue of Alhaji Maina to be reinstated, I decided to hold on to the letter from the Civil Service Commission requesting for his reinstatement because I knew of the implications of it to the core mandate of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration which is the anti-corruption mantra, but I was eventually surprised to see subsequently in the media that Maina had resumed duties even without my authorisation,” she said.
The Minister for Interior Abdulrazak Dambazzau who was also fingered in the Maina Saga said that he had nothing to say considering the fact that he had not written or signed any correspondences to that effect.
However on the contrary his counterpart and Attorney General of the Federation Alhaji Abubakar Malami had so much to say to the committee but revealed little to the committee as it appeared that he denied writing specific letters which other agencies such as the Pension Board and the Civil Service Commission had acted on in the process of reinstating Maina based on the fact that the AG is the Chief Law Officer to the government.
It will be recalled that the Head of Service had previously had a heated argument with the Chief of Staff to the President Abba Kyari over this same Maina’s reinstatement matter at the Presidential Villa after she had earlier denied media reports of her involvement in reinstating and promoting a man who still had several pending cases in court after he was sacked.
However a contrary to the various views on Maina’s disappearance and consequent sack, his personal counsel and representative at the public hearing stated that Maina was not sacked and in fact have continued working even in absentia.
“My client was never sacked he only went into hiding because of his dear life as a result of the Pension fraud syndicate who he had recovered millions of Naira from and his planned effort to expose them in fact among them are members of the National Assembly and some top retired civil servants and politicians who have continued to benefit illegally from pension fraud in the country for several decades now.”
This position was subsequently validated by the Attorney General who confirmed that he had been able to make several recoveries and blocked leakages as a result of information given to him by Maina during his meeting with him in UAE.
According to the Attorney General he admitted that he had earlier accepted to meet with Abdulrasheed Maina in the UAE after he had gotten a no objection to Maina’s request from the National Security Adviser, but that his attitude towards the reinstatement of the embattled former Pension Reform Task Force Czar was “Work in Progress” and not a concluded issue irrespective of whatever correspondences that may have emanated from his office.
This position of the AG, actually didn’t go down well with several lawmakers especially Hon. Sadeaus and Hon. Jagaba who both reminded the Hon. Minister of Justice of the constitutional provisions of the law which does not give authority to any Minister or individual to mandate the appointment or reinstatement of any civil servant.
The police had also given their account of their own role in the whole saga and this threw the whole audience into laughter as they denied having any role to play either in the disappearance, reappearance, reinstatement or promotion of Maina.
Despite being reminded by one of the committee members on the retinue of Police officers attached to Maina when he headed the Pension Reform Task Team, the Deputy Inspector General of Police Research and Strategy said that the police currently has no record of any such deployment to Maina during or after he had eloped because no police officer was officially part of his Task Force.
Hon. Sadeaus who was apparently livid at the Attorney General’s attempt to deny his letters and correspondences spoke to our investigative reporter about his impression over an alleged cover up of the roles played by some of President Buhari’s Key Ministers in this shameful saga said that the House of Representatives will not allow the cover up to stand so that Nigerians will know the truth about the fight against corruption.
The investigative hearing was adjourned till the 30th of November to allow the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior come forward to provide information on the role of the Ministry in the MainaGate Saga.
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