Gbetu TV (News They Are Not Talking About)

Finally, Abdulrasheed Maina goes to jail!

by Jide Ojo
Finally, Abdulrasheed Maina goes to jail!
Buy Social Media Followers
CLICK Image for MORE

It’s another victory for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as the anti-corruption agency was able to successfully prosecute the former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, for corruption. Last Monday, November 8, 2021, the Federal High Court in Abuja sentenced Maina to eight years’ imprisonment for money laundering offences involving N2 billion in pension funds.

 

The judge, Okon Abang, jailed Maina after convicting him and his company, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, on all the 12 counts filed against them by the EFCC. According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the judge sentenced Maina to various jail terms ranging from three to eight years, which are to run concurrently beginning from October 25, 2019, the date he was arraigned. This implies Maina will spend only five years in prison. As for the Common Input Property and Investment Ltd’s punishment, the judge ordered that it should be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government. He held that Maina stole over N2 billion belonging to pensioners, “most of whom have died without reaping the fruits of their labour”. Very heartrending!

Finally, Abdulrasheed Maina goes to jail!

According to the judge, the prosecution, the EFCC, established that Maina purchased the property in Abuja with $1.4 million cash without passing through a financial institution. The amount, the judge said, was far above the cash transaction threshold of N5 million. He also ruled that the prosecution proved that Maina concealed his true identity as a signatory to the accounts he opened in the United Bank of Africa and Fidelity Bank by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.



Mr Abang condemned the roles of banks in the opening of fraudulent accounts. The sums of N300 million, N500 million and N1.5 billion which, according to the judge, were stolen by Maina from pensioners, were deposited in the accounts. He said Maina could not explain the source of the money, adding that the convict, as a civil servant, could not have legitimately earned the sums of money from his salary and emoluments. According to the judge, an EFCC witness, who testified during the trial, pointed out that Maina, whose salary as a civil servant was N256, 000, could not have legitimately had such money running into billions in his accounts even if he saved all his salaries for 35 years.

 

Recall that last month, Maina’s son, Faisal who jumped bail was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in absentia for money laundering by the same judge who jailed his father. Justice Abang on October 7, 2021 sentenced the convict to three counts of money laundering brought against him by the EFCC. The judge sentenced him to five years each in relation to counts one and three, and 14 years on count two, adding that the sentences are to run concurrently from the day of the judgment. He said the prosecution successfully established that Faisal operated a fictitious bank account with the United Bank for Africa through which his father, Maina, laundered N58.1 million. The judge stated that the funds deposited into the account, operated in the name of Alhaji Faisal Farm 2, were sequentially withdrawn by Faisal and his father between October 2013 and June 2019.

 

How are the mighty fallen?” so asked the Holy Bible in 2 Samuel 1 vs. 27. Maina who was larger than life at some point; Maina that called the bluff of several government agencies and institutions; Maina who twice jumped bail and had to be extradited back to Nigeria from the Niger Republic has finally been convicted of stealing public funds. What a tragedy!

 

According to an editorial in The Guardian Newspaper of November 7, 2017, “Appointed in 2010 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to sanitise the corruption-ridden pension office, Maina, three years later, was alleged to have misappropriated pension funds to the tune of billions. A Senate committee set up to investigate the allegation, summoned him, and issued a bench warrant for his arrest, but to no avail. Whilst it is a fact that no court conclusively prosecuted him, the charge of impropriety seemed to have weighed on him hence he fled the country and was thus dismissed from the civil service and declared wanted.”



The editorial went on to say, “Despite the fact that law enforcement institutions such as the Senate, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Federal High Court, the Nigerian Police and INTERPOL had been on Maina’s trail for years to cause him to defend himself, Maina, surprisingly, still found his way into the civil service, got his job back with accelerated promotion from level 14 to level 16. He also got a backlog of salary arrears to the tune of N22 million paid by the government..” Can you beat that? That was a man allegedly declared wanted.

 

The aforementioned editorial characterised the convict in the following words: “Maina exemplifies the character of the typical Nigerian: one who is neither afraid nor ashamed of being a living contradiction; one who is at once a reformer and a deformer; one who flaunts impunity like a lifestyle, yet runs to the paternalistic arm of the law in order to obviate the wrath of the law; one who treats the government with disdain, yet seeks to remain part of that government. Maina is the very representation of the emboldened Nigerian conceit that emerges from the cesspool of a weakening, spent, pretentious and apparently toothless anti-corruption machinery.”

 

In my own opinion, Maina was given a soft landing by the court. How come his son got 14 years imprisonment for aiding and abetting his father in crime while the principal actor, Maina got only eight years? Why did the bankers and the banks who assisted him to open fictitious accounts, which he used to launder money, not get punished? I watched Maina on television after his conviction as he smiled and waved at his supporters without showing any sign of remorse.

 

It is very unfortunate and saddening that Maina betrayed the public trust by looting the pension fund he was meant to help secure and pay to retired civil servants. There is no doubt that Maina is an evil servant and not a civil servant. The blood of those senior citizens whom he defrauded of their entitlements will be on him and his co-travellers who abused their public office for personal aggrandisement. I have a hunch that Maina was just a mere fall guy as he couldn’t have solely manipulated the system to his advantage. He was just chairman of a Pension Reform Task Team. Could he, as a team lead, pull off this monumental fraud all by himself without being aided by any of his colleagues in the civil service and by some of his team members? Maina indeed validated Ayi Kwei Armah’s classic book, “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”

FADAKA LOUIS
Hey! If you are reading this, then you must have read what I published above. Whether you like it or not, is you feeling at the moment. Don't pass it at me. Jo! ma kora momi. A mo, you are free to express yourself by using the comment section below.