Thursday, October 26, 2017

Our Son Was Recalled By Buhari To Help The Change Agenda -Maina's Family ¦ Ignore Maina's Family, Blame Jonathan & PDP For Maina's Recall -Presidency

The Presidency and family of sacked  director in the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, were, yesterday, locked in a war of words over his sack by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Maina, former head of Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, who had been on exile, after being declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an alleged N100bn pension scam, was sacked by the President on Monday after he was found to have returned to the country and resumed work at the ministry as a director.

While the family alleged that Maina was brought back to the country by the present government to assist in propagation of its Change Agenda because of the reforms he made in the Nigerian Pension Scheme, the Presidency said the family should be ignored, saying the claim was ridiculous.

According to the family, Maina is a Messiah and not a fraudster as he is being painted.

The Presidency in a swift reaction, last night, said Maina’s family should be ignored.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said: “The claim that the Buhari administration invited the wanted Abdulrasheed Maina back into country is a freshly minted falsehood. Nobody should believe that.

“The family that made that claim simply wanted to be ridiculous. Please ignore them.”

But addressing a press conference in Kaduna, yesterday, a member of the family, Aliyu Maina, said it was because of the sterling performance of Abdulrasheed Maina in the area of preventing pension fraudsters that the present administration “convinced him to comeback and assist in its ‘Change’ agenda”.

He attributed the ordeal of Maina to the handiwork of members of a cabal who were not comfortable with the good work he was doing.

Maina’s family defence came as court documents obtained by Vanguard, yesterday, showed that  a 2013 high court judgment was ignored before Maina was recalled and promoted by the Federal Civil Service.

Labour and a coalition of civil society organisations, yesterday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Malami and the Minister of Interior, Lt-General Abdulrahaman Dambazau, retd, over the roles they played in Maina’s saga, warning that failure to sack them could hurt the Buhari administration.

Meanwhile, the Presidency blamed the immediate past Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, administration for the Maina saga as some eminent Nigerians and the Afenifere urged the Presidency to clear the mess.

Maina will nail the cabal in court – Family..

The text of the Maina family press statement read: “You must have noticed the recent attempt by some cabal to ridicule and tarnish the image of the Maina family in both the social, electronic and print media; where our brother, father, and uncle have been blackmailed as a fraudster. The cabal has gone to the extent of marking our house red paints with the inscription of ‘EFCC under investigation.’

“The entire family of Abdullahi Maina is hereby categorically stating that our son is not in any way a fraudster, rather he is a messiah who brought remarkable reforms into the Nigerian Pension Scheme, whose efforts saw the disappearance of pensioners roaming the streets of FCT Abuja and other state capitals.

“It is on record that Abdulrasheed Maina’s reform put to a stop the fraudulent withdrawal of huge sums from both the Nigerian Pension Board, the Nigerian Police Pension Board, etc. Perhaps it is his noble efforts that made him enviable to the present administration when they came into power to convince him to comeback and assist in its ‘change’ agenda.

“All the same, we have contacted our solicitors, Messrs Mamman Nasir & Co and instructed them to act appropriately. We equally know that Abdulrasheed Maina is in possession of so many facts that are 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 fatherland faithfully.”

Court document shows Malami ignored judgment to recall Maina..

More details have emerged on how  a 2013 high court judgment was ignored to ensure Maina’s recall.

A letter with Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/3, directed the FCSC to give consequential effect to a judgment he said voided the process that led to Maina’s dismissal from service.

On the strength of the letter, the FCSC, at the end of a meeting it held on June 14, 2017, requested the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, vide a letter marked: ‘’FC.4029/82/Vol. III/160,’’ and dated June 21, to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter and make appropriate recommendations regarding Maina’s case.

In line with the directive, the Ministry of Interior, at its Senior Staff Committee meeting held on June 22, placed reliance on the AGF’s letter and recommended that Maina be reinstated into the Service as Deputy Director on Salary Grade Level 16.

Consequently, the FCSC, on August 16, approved the reinstatement of Maina with effect from February 21, 2013 (being the date he was earlier dismissed from Service.)

The FCSC further okayed Maina to sit for the next promotion examination to the post of Director (Administration) with Salary Grade Level 17.

A copy of the judgment obtained by Vanguard on Wednesday, revealed that the court merely quashed a warrant of arrest that was issued against the former pension boss by the Senate.

The judgment, which was delivered on March 27, 2013, by Justice Adamu Bello of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (now retired), only faulted the process that led to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Maina.

The court, however, did not clear Maina of allegation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he embezzled pension fund to the tune of N2 billion. The court, in its judgment, equally did not insulate Maina from EFCC’s investigations.

Rather, Justice Bello advised Maina to surrender himself to the authorities investigating the alleged N2 billion fraud.

The court said there was no evidence that the investigation Senate commenced against Maina was “one validly commenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 constitution.”

It held that Senate investigative committee failed to annex vital documents to show that the ex-pension boss was accorded fair treatment before the warrant of arrest was issued against him.

Excerpts from the judgment read: “The implication of the failure to produce and annex these vital documents to the counter affidavit of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th respondents is that there is no evidence before me to show that the investigation commenced by the said respondents is one validly commenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 constitution.

“If it has not been validly commenced in accordance with the Constitution, it follows that the summons or invitation to the Applicant (Maina) to appear before the Committee would not have been validly issued and ipso facto, the warrant of arrest was not validly issued.

“In the circumstances, therefore, I am bound to set aside the warrant of arrest issued by the 2nd respondent, which threatens the right of the applicant to his personal liberty. Consequently, the warrant of arrest issued by the 2nd respondent for the arrest of the applicant is set aside.

“I grant relief-1 contained in the statement. I also grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents jointly and/or severally by themselves and or their agent, privies, servants, however so called from arresting the applicant on account of the warrant of arrest which has been set aside.

“However, beyond these two reliefs, given all the facts available to the court, the applicant is not entitled to any other relief. My decision is based purely on the failure of the respondents to annex the vital documents I mentioned, otherwise, the applicant would not have any case at all.

“The decision should not therefore send a wrong signal to the public that the Senate does not have the power to cause an investigation within the purview of the powers conferred on it by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution with respect to the matters enumerated therein.

“It has such powers and when properly exercised, it can summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence and can also compel the attendance of any such person.

“Let me end the judgment by advising the applicant to submit himself voluntarily to the investigation by the senate in order to show that he respects constituted authority. It is the least expected of him as a public officers and as a citizen of Nigeria”, Justice Bello held.

Cited as respondents in the fundamental right enforcement suit Maina lodged before the court in 2013 to quash the arrest warrant against him, were, the Senate, Senate President, Clerk of the Senate, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General of the Federation, Senator Alloysius Etok and Senator Kabiru Gaya.

Malami’s letter clearing Maina for recall..

Meanwhile, in his letter requesting that Maina be recalled to Service, the AGF, maintained that the “legal import” of the high court judgment was that the ex-pension boss had no case to answer.

The AGF’s controversial letter with Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/3, addressed to the FCSC and entitled “Re: Demand for update on the re-instatement of Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdulahi Maina as Director in the Federal Civil Service”, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard, yesterday, read:

“Attn: Deaconess J. O. Ayo, OON. Your letter on the above captioned subject matter referenced FCSC/CHMN/OC/17/Vol. XIV/209 dated 3rd March 2017 and the letters copied to the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation on the same subject matter respectively referenced HCSF/LU/COR/FCSC/749/III/84 dated 27th March 2017 and 20 April 2017 refer (copies attached).

“You would recall that I wrote your office vide a letter referenced HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/2 dated 21 February 2017 wherein I drew your attention to the legal import of the judgment delivered by his lordship honourable Justice A. Bello of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division on Wednesday the 27th day of March, 2013 in suit No FHC/Abj/CS/65/13 (Abdulrasheed Maina vs the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & 8 Ors), a suit which my office represented the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“In my said letter, I directed your office to give a consequential effect to the said judgment, which voided the warrant of arrest issued by the Police against Dr. Abdulrasheed A. Maina, which warrant of arrest formed the basis for the query referenced MI/30040/1/1 dated the 15th day of February, 2013 and his eventual dismissal from the service of the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 5th day of March 2013.

“Having reviewed all the correspondence vis-a-vis the court judgment. I hereby write to reiterate my earlier directive and further direct that you give a consequential effect to the aforesaid judgment by taking necessary steps to ensure immediate reinstatement of Dr. Maina to his duty post as a Director in the Federal Civil Service to enable him continue his service to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Please accept, Honourable Chairman, the assurances of my best regards always.”

The letter was copied to the Head of Service of the federation and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior.

Lawyer drags Buhari to court..

Meantime, an Abuja based lawyer, Chief Nkereuwem Akpan, yesterday, dragged President Buhari before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja  for his continued retention of Malami as the AGF.

The plaintiff, in an Originating Summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/626/2017, cited the AGF and President Buhari as 1st and 2nd Defendants, respectively.

Akpan anchored his suit on the ground that the AGF, going by a judgement he said was delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the court, had been adjudged to have violated the constitution, grossly abused his oath of office and also flagrantly violated the extant and sacrosanct provisions of Section 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

The plaintiff among others is praying the court  to declare that it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional for the AGF to remain as the Chief Law Officer despite that he has been adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to have violated the constitution, abused his oath of office and also flagrantly violated the extant and sacrosanct provisions of Sections 150 and 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Presidency blames PDP for Maina’s recall..

Speaking on the issue, yesterday, the Presidency accused sympathisers of the PDP for Maina’s recall saying PDP bigwigs benefited from the funds distributed by Maina.

In a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (SSA Media), the Presidency described Maina as one of the monsters created by the former PDP government, and which are still rearing their ugly heads long after the party was soundly defeated in the 2015 elections.

“Over and over again, the President Buhari government has pointed out that the administration’s greatest problem is the mess left behind by the previous government. Maina is just one more example,” he said.

Referring to records from the investigations that led to the disgrace of the former pension boss and his being declared wanted by the EFCC, Malam Shehu noted that Maina was not only a top member of the former government involved in the multi-billion naira pensions scandal, but a man warmly ensconced in the bosom of power.

“Top officials in the PDP government, from sectoral heads, to those charged with responsibility for law and order received some of these billions of naira from Maina,” the SSA Media said. “We have all the transaction records and these are matters that the EFCC has been pursuing to ensure that they all have their day in court.”

Malam Shehu hinted that some influential officials loyal to the previous government may have been the invisible hands in the latest scandal that saw the return of Maina to the public service, despite being on the EFCC’s wanted list. He, however, assured Nigerians that President Buhari was determined to get to the bottom of the matter of the impunity that led to Maina’s reinstatement.

“Everything will be uncovered in due course,” he said. “This just goes to show us the scale of corruption that this government is fighting. And, as we can all see, corruption keeps fighting back viciously.”

Presidency needs to clear the air – Afenifere..

Reacting, Afenifere said if the Maina’s family claim is true, it would sound the death knell on Buhari’s anti-corruption war.

Urging the Presidency to clear the air, Afenifere described the scenario as a messy one.

Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “We await the response of the Federal Government to that serious charge. If it is true that they invited him to come and key into the change agenda, that will be the greatest scandal of the year and I think we will need a response to this. This has become an embarrassment.

“We have seen the bout between the Head of Service of the Federation, Minister of Interior and the Attorney-General, it is a messy one and I think the Presidency must clear the air on this serious charge by the family. If it is true, then, that would sound the death knell of the whole anti-corruption war.”

Their remark makes mockery of Nigerians – Osuntokun..

Also, Mr Akin Osuntokun, Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Maina  family’s remark makes mockery of Nigerians.

Osuntokun said: “At the rate Nigeria is going, we will soon start suffering from scandal fatigue syndrome. Ironically, the deluge and expose of abuses, impunity and corrupt practices appear to have intensified since the return of the president from his prolonged medical vacation. The Abdulrasheed Maina saga especially the public intervention of his family symbolises the degeneration of the anti- corruption credentials of the government into outright farce and mockery. That the family can have the audacity to mock the Nigeria public in this manner is nothing short of reality imitating fiction.”

These men will ruin your govt if not sacked, Labour tells Buhari..

Alarmed by the scandal, Organised Labour, yesterday, urged President Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet and sack those lacking integrity before they ruin his government.

On the platform of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, Labour contended that, if unchecked, the way some members of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet had been embarrassing the government and the nation with impunity would create the impression before the international community that Nigeria is a lawless country.

In a statement in Lagos, ASCSN Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, expressed sadness that Maina, sacked in 2013 for alleged sharp practices in respect of over N2 billion pension funds, was smuggled back into the Federal Civil Service by key government officials close to Mr President.

According to the statement: ‘’Information at the public domain shows that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Minister of Interior, Lt-General Abdulrahaman Dambazau, cannot be entirely extricated from the conspiracy that led to the illegal re-absorption of Maina into the Federal Civil Service. Thus, the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has again dismissed Abdulrasheed Maina from Service is good news but what the public now expects is for Mr President to instil sanity into the inner core of his administration by sacking those who are bent on ruining his reputation as a man of integrity.’’

Sack Malami, Danbazau now – CSOs..

Also, a coalition of civil society groups and public interest lawyers have asked President Buhari to immediately sack Malami and Danbazau for their alleged complicity in the act.

The coalition said its demand was based on information that Malami approved Maina’s re-engagement and asked Dambazau to approve his appointment back into the Ministry of Interior as the director of human resources.

The organization, under the aegis of Public Interests Defenders, in a statement in Abuja, through its Chairman, Pelumi Olajengbesi, while condemning the re-engagement of Maina, said the action of the Attorney General of the Federation was contrary to the collective interest of Nigerians.

“It is high time he is removed from office and a more committed individual with public interest at heart  appointed, “it said.

The group’s statement further read:”Before this action by the President we have it on good authority that the Minister of Interior Affairs, Mr. Danbazua approved Maina’s appointment back into the Ministry of Interior as the Director of Human resources in the Ministry acting on the avowal of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN.

“That Justice Minister Malami and Interior Minister Dambazau be dismissed from office with immediate effect and be prosecuted for their roles in shielding an evidently corrupt individual… Both ministers cannot be said to have acted in good conscience nor within the mandate of their respective offices which demands that public interest be above all other considerations in whatever actions they undertake with the powers of their office.’’


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