There are strong indications that the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission has abandoned the hunt for the Chairman of the defunct
Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, indicted for N2.1
billion pension biometric scam.

Punch reports that the EFCC lost interest in the case following the
official protection enjoyed by the ex-director who was also promoted
after his controversial reinstatement into the civil service by
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2017.

Sources said the anti-graft body had abandoned the search for Maina,
noting that “he is more or less a free man now.”

The newspaper quoted a source as saying, “Is anyone talking about
Maina again? He is no longer a fugitive and the EFCC has abandoned the
hunt for him. If you are in doubt, ask Ibrahim Magu (acting EFCC
Chairman) for an update on his case and hear what he would tell you.”

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said there was no update on the
manhunt for the former director.

Maina was reportedly nursing a governorship ambition to rule his home
state of Borno when he fled the country after he was declared wanted
by the anti-graft agency in 2013.

He fled to the United Arab Emirates where he hibernated for three
years until he was said to have met with the Attorney General of the
Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in Dubai, in
2016, during which he was reportedly assured of his safety in Nigeria.

Shortly after this, Maina’s name was reportedly taken off the watch
list at the nation’s international airports and he had been visiting
the country more regularly from his foreign base.

The former PRTT chairman was being protected from arrest and
prosecution by top officials in the Presidency and the Ministry of
Justice and that while placed on the International Police wanted list,
he was always in the country hobnobbing with senior officials, it was
reported.

A source claimed that Maina was “a friend of the government, no
enforcement agency would dare take him into custody.”

Malami had in November 2017 admitted before a senate ad hoc panel
probing Maina’s reinstatement into the civil service that he met with
the former PRTT boss in Dubai.

Sequel to this, Maina resumed at the Ministry of Interior where he was
promoted as Director, Human Resources Department, without sitting the
mandatory promotion examination.

Against the backdrop of the revelations, Buhari ordered the sacking of
the director and the Senate also set up an ad-hoc committee to
determine the circumstances that led to the return of Maina to the
country and his reinstatement into the service despite being on the
security watch list.

But the report of the committee headed by the then Chairman, Senate
Committee on Establishments and Public Services, Senator Emmanuel
Paulker (PDP, Bayelsa Central), was not released till the tenure of
the eight Senate lapsed.

Maina in January 2019, secured a court order stopping the EFCC from
declaring him wanted.

Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court described the action
of the anti-graft agency in declaring Maina wanted as unlawful, but
the commission vowed to appeal against the order.

When asked if the commission had appealed the court order obtained by
Maina against his arrest, the EFCC spokesman pleaded with Punch for
time to find out from the commission’s director of the legal
department.

He later said he could not reach the director as calls to his phone rang out.

Checks, however, showed that  Maina is still listed as a wanted person
on EFCC's website.
 

 

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