N74bn recovered by ex-pension boss, Maina, was used to finance 2012 Budget, witness tells court

Ngozika Ihuoma, first defence witness (DW1), on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that N74 billion recovered by defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT) was used by the Federal Government to finance 2012 Budget.

Ihuoma, a management consultant, whose firm, Crincad & Cari Nigeria Ltd was contracted by the PRTT for consultancy service, told Justice Okon Abang when he was being led in evidence-in-chief by Maina’s lawyer, Adeola Olawale.
He said that the PRTT Chairman, Abdulrasheed Maina, recovered
N282 billion.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Abang had, on Feb. 25, ordered Maina to open his defence in the charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after the prosecution closed its case.

Though Maina had intended to apply for a no-case submission, the judge foreclosed his right to make the application on Dec. 21, 2020, ruling that the pension reformed boss had adequate time and facility to make the submission but failed to do so.
Maina (1st defendant) was arraigned before Abang, on Oct. 25, 2019, by the EFCC alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd (2nd defendant).

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

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The witness, while testifying, said the task team recovered N282b cash and 222 choice property as proceed of fraud valued at N1.6 trillion.

He explained that the said money was warehoused at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

According to the witness, out of the money, N74 billion was used to finance the 2012 national budget as passed by the National Assembly.

Ihuoma noted that a presidential directive was issued by the then president, Goodluck Johnathan, that 2.5 per cent which amounted to N7.05 billion of the recovered money be used to run the PRTT’s official duties but was never released despite several requests and reminder to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly.

“Former President Jonathan ordered N7.05 billion to be released to the task team to offset the fees of their consultants, ICT experts, etc.

“That has not been honoured till today, instead, the EFCC was mobilised against Maina,” he said.

Justice Abang adjourned until March 4 for trial continuation.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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