N2.1b pension fraud: Our case against Maina, by AGF, EFCC
* Justify declaring him wanted, obtaining warrant for his arrest
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have given reasons why they are interested in the prosecution of former Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The AGF and EFCC faulted Maina’s claim that he was being wanted in relation to the alleged theft of N2.l billion pension fund, but said he was allegedly involved in multiple offences.
They said the case against Maina includes allegations of misappropriation, money laundering, forgery and procurement fraud.
The AGF and the EFCC justified the various steps taken so far to bring him to justice, including placing advertorials in newspapers, declaring him wanted and obtaining a bench warrant against him from a competent court.
They said the arrest warrant was still valid and that it would be executed at the appropriate time.
The AGF and the EFCC argued, in court documents filed in response to two suits by Maina before the Federal High Court in Abuja, that the suits were meant to further shield him from the law.
Maina, in both suits is alleging violation of his fundamental rights through being declared wanted and a bench warrant issued against him.
He equally alleged constant intimidation and harassment by security agencies, queried the competence of the warrant issued by a Magistrate Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for his arrest.
Respondents in both suits are AGF, EFCC, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Interpol) and Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
The EFCC, in a counter affidavit, said “the applicant (Maina) is wanted by the 2nd respondent (EFCC) over allegations of misappropriation, money laundering, forgery and procurement fraud.
“Several letters of invitation was extended to him through the Ministry of Interior to come to the office of the 2nd respondent to respond to allegations levelled against him.
On the 30th day of October 2017, the Ministry of Interior wrote back to the 2nd respondent wherein they intimated the 2nd respondent that the whereabouts of the applicant is unknown which incapacitated them from serving him an official letter of release to enable him to report to the office of the 2nd respondent.
“The Ministry of Interior also advised the 2nd respondent to take any further appropriate action in search of him.
“The 2nd respondent was constrained to seek for and obtain a warrant of arrest after all efforts made to bring him to the 2nd respondent‘s office proved futile.
“The warrant of arrest was issued by the Chief Magistrate Court Abuja dated 26th October 20l7
“The applicant is being investigated for several offences, including money laundering, obtaining money by false pretence, breach of trust, cheating, official corruption, embezzlement of public fund and abuse of office. ‘
“There is no order of court directing the 2nd respondent from investigating and or prosecuting the applicant.
“The applicant has remained at large since 20l5 and, as such, could not be arraigned before the Federal High Court in Charge No FHC/ABJ/CR/297/20l5 wherein he was charged alongside Stephen Orosanya,Osorenkhhoe Afe and four others. Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit EFCC 3 is a copy of the charge.
“Charge No FHC/ABJ/CR/297/20l5 pending at the Federal High Court Abuja for which the applicant has evaded arraignment and for which he was subsequently declared wanted bothers on money laundering and not theft of the sum of N2.lb pension fund contrary to the deposition of the applicant.
“The warrant of arrest issued by the Chief Magistrate Court, Abuja which is the fulcrum on which the declaration of the applicant as a wanted person is founded is valid and subsisting and has not been set aside.
The counter-affidavit further reads: “In 2015, the EFCC pressed charges of corruption to the tune of N2 billion against the applicant and his accomplices.
“The applicant was declared wanted by the 2nd respondent consequent upon his refusal to make himself available for investigation on allegations of corruption running into over N2billion, rather the applicant absconded to evade investigation, arrest and possible prosecution.
“In further investigating the applicant as it relates to corruption charges, the applicant evaded questioning by relevant security agencies.
“In an effort to secure the presence of the applicant to aid the investigation into the alleged corruption, an arrest warrant was further issued to secure his presence.
“The applicant had consistently not made himself available for investigation by relevant security agencies.
The publication made in the national dailies was to ascertain the whereabouts of the applicant and aid the investigation of the allegation of corruption against the applicant.