By Ben Agande
Kaduna—Former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Team, PPRT, Abdurasheed Maina, has said to get to root of the controversy over pension funds, he was ready to engage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, in an open debate in a neutral setting.
His words: “Let’s meet at an open panel of investigation if the EFCC is truly straightforward. We urge the government to appoint an independent panel of investigation and see who will run out of Nigeria.”
Maina, who threw the challenge through his lawyer, Sani Katu, in Kaduna, insisted that he was innocent of the allegation that he stole N2.1 billion of pension funds.
He also alleged that a prominent Lagos-based lawyer, who has been very vocal in calling for his arrest, bought one of the houses that his team seized from pension fraudsters.
He said rather than being accused of stealing N2.1 billion, the Federal Government was owing him over N159 billion, based on its five percent whistleblower policy.
‘What I recovered for FG’
He explained: “In 2011, we stopped the stealing of N300 million daily from police pension. Also, in 2011, we stopped the stealing of N1.04 billion monthly from police pension allocations
“Same 2011, we were able to stop the yearly stealing of N52.5 billion, which has been an annual ritual at the head of service pension
“It will interest you to know that between 2011 and 2012, the PRTT recovered cash and asset worth N1.63 trillion, which has been with the EFCC.
“Recalled that some pensioners petitioned the National Assembly to ensure that EFCC produced these recoveries so that Nigerians will know.
“The pensioners urged EFCC in their petition to stop diverting the attention of Nigerians from the N1.63 trillion towards an imaginary and concocted N2.1 billion fraud that EFCC Pension Fraud unit created, using coercion to hide the monies, some of them stolen. The result is that conviction of the 43 alleged notorious pension cartel, which may never be possible.
“Similarly, between 2016 and June 2017, Maina, released the intelligence and tip-offs that stopped the annual stealing of N1.3 trillion.
“Also between February and October, he also recovered N152 billion, N60 billion, and other sensitive materials. These achievements go to further the importance of Maina to this country.
“It means the government acted in public interest by obeying court order which brought Maina to office.
‘What FG owe me’
“It could be recalled that Maina was shot at and dismissed by the pension cabal. The 7th Senate asked for his head, he approached the high court and got judgment and is now being accused of N2.1 billion which is not even a .000001 percent of what Maina is supposed to be paid by government.
“Now let’s total what Maina recovered, then apply the five percent whistleblower policy and get the total to be paid to Maina; then subtract N2.1 billion, which, even though it is a complete fabrication by the EFCC, then pay him the balance.”