After months of evading summons by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Maina, whistle-blower and pension reform advocate, has been declared wanted for allegedly stealing over N1billion of pension funds.
The irony of the situation could not have been lost on anyone who had followed the saga of the monumental plundering of pension funds in Nigeria by corrupt civil servants.
On Tuesday, but for a last-minute adjournment, Maina, former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, who blew the lid on the looting of more than N100billion pension funds at the pension offices of the Head of Service and Police Pension Office, along with his front companies, would have been arraigned before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The EFCC had earlier on Monday declared Maina wanted after he repeatedly refused to appear before it to respond to allegations of stealing and money laundering.
Recall that on March 8, 2012, in the same court building where Maina is likely to face trial, another trial took place involving top civil servants that Maina and his task team had accused of stealing about N60 billion of pension funds from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, HOSF
Arraigned for trial were Teidi Shuaibu, former Director (Pensions) in the office of the Head of Service, Phina Ukamaka Chidi, Deputy Director in the same office and 30 others on a 134 count charge of conspiracy, fraud, stealing and misappropriation of public funds.
Months later, on May 28, 2012, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gudu, another set of senior civil servants, including two former directors at the Police Pension Office, Esias Dangaba and Abubakar Kigo, (later Permanent Secretary) along with others, was arraigned for stealing more than N32 billion police officers pension funds.
However, today, the table has turned as Maina himself has been slammed with a 35-count charge bothering on stealing, Advance Fee Fraud (419) and money laundering, along with Steve Oronsaye, former HOSF, Osarenkhoe Afe, a consultant to the PRTT, and four companies.
Earlier, on July 10, 2015, Oronsaye, Maina, Afe and a company, Fredrick Hamilton Global Services, were arraigned before the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 24-count charge bordering on stealing, fraud and misappropriation of public funds.
However, on Tuesday, the companies allegedly used by Maina to launder the money he is accused of stealing were added to the charges. The companies are Cluster Logistics Limited, Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited and Drew Investment & Construction Company.
An earlier report by the ICIR, N1 Billion Pension Fraud: The Case Against Oronsaye, Abdulrasheed Maina, detailed how Oronsaye and Maina allegedly masterminded the stealing of over N1 billion from pension funds at the office of the Head of Service using bogus biometric enrollment contracts given to companies controlled by their friends, cronies and associates.
However, after the initial arraignment, amendments made to the charges showed in detail how Maina allegedly laundered his loot to foreign jurisdictions, mostly to Dubai, where he has been resident for nearly two years, using companies and accounts controlled by him but opened and run by his family members, including his brother and sister.
The alleged coordinator of Maina’s laundering activities was his junior brother, Khalid Aliyu Biu, who worked in Fidelity Bank until the last quarter of 2012. Khalid facilitated the opening of several company and personal accounts for Maina with a total turnover of nearly over N1 billion between 2009 and 2015.
Apart from the above mentioned companies, Khalid opened two other personal accounts in the name of Nafisatu Aliyu, believed to be his sister, and Abdullahi Faisal. (Maina’s son is named Faisal).
Khalid opened an account in Fidelity Bank in the name of Cluster Logistics while he worked there. A search at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, shows that the company had three directors – Khalid Aliyi Biu, Hassan Dahiru and Sani Musa. The company registration papers also had Maina’s Kado Estate residence as office address. The sole signatory to the company was Abubakar Mustapha who is believed to be Maina.