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Just in: Court halts EFCC from declaring Maina, accused of stealing over $5.6m ‘wanted’

By Anthony Ogbonna

The Justice Guwa Ogunbanjo-led Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has, Monday, halted move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from declaring the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, wanted.

maina
Maina

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The court also said that declaring Maina wanted is unlawful.

Maina had headed a task force on pension reforms during the last administration but fled Nigeria in 2015 after he was accused of stealing two billion naira ($5.6 million, 4.8 million euros).

Although an Interpol arrest warrant was issued against him but he still managed to return to Nigeria, where he was later reinstated into the civil service by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.

President Buhari who had heard of Maina’s return, and following public outcry, responded by ordering his dismissal and arrest but the EFCC said he had again fled Nigeria to avoid being picked up.

Meanwhile, Maina had, in a suit filed on September 5, 2018, asked the court to stop the EFCC from declaring him wanted.

He had also, in the suit, sought a perpetual injunction to restrain the commission from further harassing him or declaring him wanted over the case.

He prayed the court to order the EFCC, both jointly or severally, its staff, agents, privies, representatives, and any other person or related affiliates under whatever name or guise, to forthwith stay clear and remove his picture, name, references, addresses, details and other particulars from the wanted list published on the EFCC official website or any other related platform where ever it may be.

Justice Ogunbanjo, after hearing the briefs by both the prosecuting and defending counsels, gave an order of perpetual Injunction, restraining EFCC and its affiliates or related bodies under whatever guise, to forthwith, halt declaring Maina “Wanted.”

The Judge who based his judgement on sections 41 and 42 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, ruled that declaring Maina wanted was an infringement on his fundamental human right.

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