Embattled former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina on Monday threw an open debate challenge to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his involvement in a N2.1bn he was alleged to have stolen.
Maina through his lawyer, Sani Katu in a statement issued in Kaduna, argued that the former pension fund boss was innocent of the said stolen funds and asked the nation’s anti graft agency to an open debate for Nigerians to know what was unknown to them.
Maina’s family had last month(October) insisted that some ‘cabals’ were merely out to tarnish the image of Maina in the media, noting that they knew that was in possession of facts that were against the cabal which would be of great interests.
Those facts, the family had said that it would be disclosed soonest to Nigerians.
“We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of so many facts that is against the cabal and interesting to the Nigerian populace, which he will disclose soonest. One must ask whether it is an offence for somebody to serve his father land faithfully,” the family had said.
But on Monday, the ex-Chairman, insisted he did not steal N2.1bn from the pension fund as was being alleged, rather he said the federal government was owing him over N159BN.
According to him, Nigerians must not be viewed as being stupid, adding that the ‘cabal’ were out to take the attentions from the recoveries made so far by task force he headed.
Maina, therefore, urged the Federal Government to appoint an independent panel of investigation and see who would flee the country.
This was just as he challenged the EFCC to meet at an open panel of investigation where he would state all the unknowns to Nigerians.
He said: “Nigerians are not stupid and cannot be deceived. They want to take our attention away from all these recoveries because they have repeatedly failed to account for them.
“Our attention cannot be diverted away from about N4tr to a mere N2.1Bn which is an insignificant percentage the N2.1bn, which is less of all the recoveries.
“Let’s meet at an open panel of investigation if the EFCC is truly straight forward.” We urge the Government to appoint an independent panel of investigation and see who will run out of Nigeria.”
Also, Maina accused a prominent Lagos lawyer of buying one of the properties he seized from pension fraudsters.
He added that it was because the said lawyer was a beneficiary of the recovered assets that he has resorted to attacking him, fearing that he would be exposed.
“During the assignment of the Maina Led Pension Reform Task Force Team, it recovered assets and funds worth N1.6trillion. Amongst the real Estates recovered from pension thieves is a Maitama mansion worth N1billion situated at No 42 Gana Street, Maitama Abuja. Recently, the lawyer, has been vociferous in asking for Maina’s arrest and crucifixion, because he is afraid that Maina will expose him as party to the stealing of what Maina Team recovered assets.
“When people raised alarm, the lawyer and a former EFCC arranged a fake scenario that Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar owner of AA Oil was said to have sold the mansion to Falana at N1billion. So, this is one reasons why they are trying to implicate by all means,” he said.
Maina alleged that when eyebrows were raised on the transaction and the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the then chairman “arranged a fake scenario that Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar owner of AA Oil was said to have sold the mansion to said lawyer at N1bn.”
Also, he added the over N1.6 Trillion his team recovered from pension thieves could not be accounted for, noting that what he required of president Muhammadu Buhari was a fair hearing so that he could say his own side of the story.
He said, “sponsored commentators are quick to engage in media dirty fight with patriotic Abdulrashid Maina that he should be arrested, be killed and be buried dead or alive. The reasons are simple and not far fetched. Maina Pension Task Force Team recovered over N1.6tr pension loot during former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The said recoveries in assets and in cash could not be accounted. I request President Buhari to give this young patriotic Nigerian a listening ear and fair hearing to open the highest fraud in the history of governance in Nigeria. Just read in between the line and you can see that, nobody in Nigeria ever has even been attacked, ridiculed and insulted like Maina.”
He continued that in 2011 we stopped the stealing of N300m daily from police pension, adding also tjat in 2011, “we stopped the stealing of N1.04bn monthly from police pension allocations
“Same 2011, we were able to stopped the yearly stealing of N52.5bn which has been an annual ritual at the head of service pension
“It would interest you to know that between 2011 and 2012 the PRTT recovered cash and asset worth N1.63trn which has been with the EFCC.
“It may be recalled that some pensioners petitioned the National Assembly to ensure that EFCC produce these recoveries so that Nigerians would know.
“These recoveries belong to Nigerians and thus the need to know the whereabout of these monies and properties. The Pensioners urged EFCC in their Petition to stop diverting the attention of Nigerians from the N1.63Tr towards an imaginary and concocted N2.1bn fraud, that EFCC pension Fraud unit created using coercion to hide the monies some of them stole and the result is that conviction of the 43 alleged notorious pension cartel which may never be possible.
He added: “Similarly, between 2016 and June 2017, Maina, released the intelligence and tip-offs that stopped the annual stealing of N1.3trn. (This has been confirmed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation).
“Also between February 2017 to October 2017, He also recovered N152bn, N60bn, and other sensitive materials. These achievements goes to further the importance of Maina to this Country. It means the Government acted in public interest by obeying Court order which brought Maina to office.
“It could be recalled that Maina was shot at and dismissed by the pension cabal, The 7th Senate asked for his head, He approached the high court and got judgement and is now being accused of N2.1bn which is not even a .000001% of what Maina is supposed to be paid by Government. Are we actually fighting corruption or playing cartel games.
“Now let’s total what Maina recovered, then apply the whistle blower 5%, and get the total to be paid to Mains.”