What Magu, Adeosun, Oyo-Ita, Immigration Boss, Daura Are saying As Reps Probe #MainaGate
The investigation into the recall of former head of Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service took several interesting dimensions on Thursday at the House of Representatives as more revelations emerged from parties involved in the matter.
Those quizzed at the resumption of the hearing chaired by Aliyu Madaki, included the Head of Service of the federation, HoS, Winifred Oyo-Ita; Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu; Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris; Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Services, Mohammed Babangede; and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly commenced the investigative hearing into the disappearance, reappearance, reinstatement and promotion of Mr. Maina on Thursday, November 23.
At the first sitting, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Malami, denied initiating and authorising Maina’s return.
But the account of the HoS and that of the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Joseph Akande, countered Mr. Malami’s claim.
According to Mrs. Oyo-Ita, she had received a series of letters from the office of the Attorney General demanding the reinstatement of Mr. Maina, while Mr. Akande too said that at least three letters on the issue emanated from the office of the AGF.
Literally, it means either the AGF was lying or the HoS and Mr. Akande were.
I’m responsible for Maina’s reinstatement – PermSec, Interior Ministry, Mr. Magaji Abubakar
Abubakar on Thursday admitted before the House of Representatives’ Adhoc Committee that his mistake led to reinstatement of the ex-pension boss.
Consequently, he apologised to the Head of Service of the Federation, HoS, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, for the error.
Magaji, who stated this following barrage of evidence-based questions directed at him by members of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee, made the U-turn having first indicted the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, as being responsible for the letter directing Maina’s reinstatement.
Mrs. Oyo-Ita clears self
Oyo-Ita, in her defence before the panel, marveled at the submission by the Permanent Secretary whom she described as “a senior permanent secretary in the civil service”, saying that Magaji was being economical with the truth as her office never sent a letter directing the him to reinstate Maina.
She added that Mr. Maina, was reinstated into the civil service without a directive from her office.
“For the permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji, to claim that the directive to reinstate Maina came from my office is limited in facts,” Mrs. Oyo-Ita said, reacting to the submission by Mr. Magaji.
““The remarks by Mr. Magaji that he acted based on directives of the Head of Service, to put it mildly, is not quite correct,” she said.
“There is a process of conveyance of reinstatement instructions. The Federal Civil Service Commission would send a letter to the Head of Service and also send another letter to the beneficiary of that reinstatement under the flying seal of the Head of Service.
“The Ministry of Interior did not wait to get a posting instruction before they went ahead and reinstated Maina and assigned him duties.
“So this is to completely discountenance the attempt by the Permanent Secretary that they acted on an issue in an illegal manner while trying to make claims that there was a legality from my office”, she added.
Immigration: Maina is a US citizen, has three passports
In his defence, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Services, Mohammed Babandede, claimed Mr. Maina has three official passports and has not been travelling through borders if he has been travelling at all.
He said: “We have checked our records and we have not seen a single name of Maina pass through our airports since 2013 when he was blocked; so the record available to us shows that Maina has not been travelling.”
“If he has been travelling, then it means he has not been travelling through an airport we can see. By law, if you pass through a border you are entitled to report to an immigration officer. So if Maina has been travelling from 2013 till date, we don’t know. If he has been passing through borders he has not reported to an immigration officer. As far as we are concerned, Maina has not been travelling since 2013.”
“We knew about Maina from 27 September 2013 when he was leaving the country and he was stopped at the Murtala Mohammed international airport because of the letter from EFCC.
“Prior to that time, Maina was never in our stop list. He has been a frequent traveller across airports. He has 3 passports. An official passport which has expired and has not being renewed; a standard passport which is currently valid till 2018 and an American passport.
”So in an addition to being a citizen of Nigeria, he is also a citizen of America. He has a valid U.S. passport which will be expiring on 26 August 2022.”
I advised Malami to meet with Maina – Daura
The Director General of the State Security Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, in his account, confirmed that the AGF met with Mr. Maina based on his advice.
He said: “The attorney general of the federation sometime in 2016 or 2015 (can’t remember the exact day) because it was not through a formal document, placed a call to me when he was outside the country and requested me on a request he got through a source that Maina wanted to meet him.”
“He wanted me to advise him whether to agree to see Maina or not in that foreign country.”
“I responded to the attorney general that he should accept to see Maina but he should not see him alone”
“He should see him with a third party,” Mr. Daura said.
His account confirms Mr. Maina’s comment in a video recently aired by Channels TV that he met with the minister.
Magu Claims Maina Never Returned Any Asset To EFCC
On his own part, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, stated emphatically that Mr. Maina did not hand over any asset to the commission.
“If Maina or any government official witnessed the sharing of any recovered pension assets by any official of the EFCC, they should be willing to name the official, the assets involved; when and where the sharing took place.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are no 222 properties anywhere that were shared by anybody. The EFCC did not receive a single property from Abdulrasheed Maina,” Mr. Magu said.
He added that all the pension fraud asset that are in the recovered assets inventory of the commission, ”were products of independent investigation by the EFCC.”
Maina received no salary – Adeosun
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said several searches were made in the payroll and nothing was found.
“We do not have his biometric data. I can state that he is not receiving salary from the federal government,” she said.