More than N3trn Trapped in 97 Pension Offices – Maina opens can of Worms

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Dr. Abdulrashid Maina
Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina
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More than N3trn Trapped in 97 Pension Offices – Maina opens can of Worms

– The embattled former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, wrote a letter the the eighth Senate asking for a review of his case and a probe of the various actions taken against him.

Dr. Abdulrashid Maina
Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina

– The letter dated June 19, 2015, was leaked to newsmen in Kaduna on Friday, November 3 – He disclosed that the task force team which began operation in January 2011, saved about N1.6 trillion from pension thieves.

Maina stated that while the Senate haunted the task team, the same body favoured the “pension thieves” The embattled former chairman of the presidential task force on pension reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, has accused the seventh Senate which was led by Senator David Mark of aiding and abetting pension thieves across the country. According to him, his case was that of corruption fighting back as the Senate favoured pension thieves, The Nation reports.

He added that that pension funds amounting to more than N3 trillion were trapped in 97 pension offices before he fled the country.

This was contained in a letter dated June 19, 2015, which he wrote to the Senate shortly after he returned to the country from self-exile.

The letter addressed to Senate president, Bukola Saraki was titled ‘Pension Reform Task Team: Appeal for Review of Investigation Probe by Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service and States and Local Government Administration 2011-2013.’

In the letter which was leaked on Friday, November 3, Maina said he was seeking a review of his case and a probe of the various actions taken against him by some people he claimed were bent on intimidating him.

“We, members of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), wish to use this medium to apologise for our little late response to reaching back to you.”

“We had to put the issues together and source for appurtenant materials. We appreciate your understanding sir.”

“As a refresher, the PRTT was inaugurated on 10th June, 2010 by the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, with a clear mandate to restructure the Head of Service Pension Office, Police Pension Office, among others.”

“We did our utmost with precision and national interests as our guiding principles,” he said.

According to him, his team began operation in January 2011 and saved about N1.6 trillion from pension thieves.

He added that 46 persons and firms involved in looting pension funds were arrested due to the team’s effort and they were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“We used financial intelligence skills to achieve ground-breaking achievements in our assignment. We recovered and saved cash and properties worth over N1.6trillion.”

“Our efforts led to the arrest and prosecution of 46 persons/firms involved in looting of pension funds which we handed to the EFCC. The trials are still ongoing,” he said.

Maina disclosed that there was a leakage of N256 billion monthly from the current IPPIS, which needed to be blocked urgently and also some government hidden accounts which needed to be mopped up.

According to him, the seventh Senate set up a committee after the task force team revealed the massive fraud and outright stealing of pension funds.

He said the Senate committee ended up creating more problems than solutions to the endemic corruption and fraud prevailing in the system because while the Senate haunted them, it favoured the “pension thieves”.

“Based on the revelations of massive/monumental fraud and outright stealing of pension funds, which was brought to public attention by the PRTT, the 7th National Assembly by resolution dated 2nd November, 2011 mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service, State and Local Government Administration, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the management and administration of pension funds in Nigeria.”

“There was general expectation that the various dimensions of irregularities associated with the management of pension funds in Nigeria would come to an end as a consequence of the investigations being conducted by the Senate Joint Committee.

“We became objects of corruption fighting us back. From our first appearance before the Senate committee, it was obvious that the entire exercise conducted by the Committee was geared towards discrediting the PRTT.

“In this context, the PRTT, wishes to state without any fear of contradiction that the Senate Joint Committee’s Report submitted, which was subsequently adopted by the 7th Senate but now quashed by the Federal High Court judgement of the 13th March 2013 in favour of the PRTT’s Chairman, not only failed to address the issues at stake but succeeded in misleading the Senate and the generality of Nigerians about the true picture, nature and scope of problems militating against the efficient management and administration of Pension Funds in Nigeria. Copy of said judgement attached and marked ‘ANNEXURE1’,” the letter stated.

He noted that the biometric system adopted by the team exposed 73,000 ghost pensioners in the office of the Head of Service alone.

Maina stated that before he left Nigeria, the PRTT had worked so hard that pension payments stabilised.

“Some pensioners got backlog of about 30 years paid into their accounts. All payments were ordered under the signature of the Head of Service monthly,” he said.

Maina disclosed that he left the country following threat to his life, as there was a gunshot attack on his person in front of Head of Civil Service Office where his office was located in February, 2013.

On how he was dismissed from office, he said the process was concluded under 36 hours without any opportunity for him to defend himself.

Maina also alleged that shortly after he was forced out, the office of the Head of Service was enmeshed in a N35bn fraud and an investigation was conducted by the ICPC which has not yet commenced the prosecution till date.

The leaked letter indicated that the pension boss resurfaced in the country shortly after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015.

“We are by this letter appealing to the federal government in the spirit of CHANGE which the country is witnessing, and the stand of government on corruption, that opportunity be given to us to present the truth about pension management in Nigeria,” Maina wrote in the leaked letter.

Reacting to Maina’s letter, the special adviser (media) to the Senate president, Yusuf Olaniyonu, said the letter was ignored by the eighth Senate leadership because the seventh Senate had taken a decision on the pension matter and there was no reasonable ground to review it.

Maina came into the limelight recently following a public uproar after report surfaced that he had been reinstated as a director in the Ministry of Interior while he was still wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over alleged embezzlement of N2 billion pension funds.

He has been disengaged from service by President Muhammadu Buhari and was reported that the International Police has declared him wanted.

The world police body, sent a letter, stating that Maina has been placed on its “Red Notice” based on the request by the EFCC.

Meanwhile, Femi Adesina, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, on Wednesday, November 1, said President Buhari is committed to fighting corruption without prejudice.

He stated that Nigerians would get a feedback from the president in the case involving Maina, the former pension boss.

Does the recent sack of Babachir Lawal confirm Buhari’s fight against corruption?

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