Mainagate: FG set to pay Maina N75billon

Mainagate: FG set to pay Maina N75billon

By Yemi  Esho, Abuja

The former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms (PTFPR), Abdulrasheed Maina, could be smiling to the bank as there are plans on the way to award him a shocking sum of N75billion which is 2.5 per cent of N3trillion he has promised to recover for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Maina, in one of his recent interviews, claimed that he has helped the government to recover trillions of naira to fund the economy. The said money, AljazirahNigeria, learnt was recovered from those he described as pension thieves who have been feeding fat on Nigeria’s patrimony.

Maina said he has helped the government recover N1.3 trillion through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami. The Federal Government has stated that every whistleblower is entitled to 2.5 per cent of money exposed or reported to the government. But the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has claimed that it recovered the N1.3 trillion Maina is laying claim to.

The former chairman of PTFPR has always denied any involvement in the pension fraud and has stated that he is ready to prove to the President that he was innocent of all the allegations levelled against him by his detractors. Maina has stated that he was the target of those who were not comfortable with his style of administration where they are feeding fat on pension fraud under the immediate past government of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and succeeded in frustrating him out of the system.

A letter dated 5th March 2013 and obtained by AljazirahNigeria, with REF NO: FC.4029/82/VOL.III/63 from the Discipline and Appeals department of the Federal Civil Service Commission and signed by one Ambassador Sani S. Bala for chairman of the commission, conveyed Maina’s dismissal from the civil service as deputy director.

The letter reads in part: “I am directed to inform you that the commission at its meeting held on Tuesday 5th March, 2013 considered the allegation of absence from duty without approved leave on permission with effect from 30th January 2013…The Commission, therefore, dismissed you from service with effect from 21st February 2013 in accordance with PSR Nos. 030401 and 030402(e).”

Maina, in an exclusive interview with AljazirahNigeria, said there is no need for the Federal Government to borrow the $5.5billion loan the government is proposing.

“There is no need borrowing any $5.5billion loan by the government. If I am giving free hand to operate, I promise to help the government to recover more than N3 trillion scattered all over the places to fund the budget. Remember, I have helped to recover the sum of N1.3 trillion which the Minister of Justice is aware of,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maina has expressed his readiness to sue the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for character assassination over the claim that he has lodged the sum of N1.5 billion in his son’s account. He said he is challenging the anti-graft commission to establish the account details, the name of the bank and the name of the said son, failure of which he said he will sue the commission for N10billion.

“I will be taking the EFCC to the court for character assassination for claiming that I have lodged a sum of N1.5billion in my son’s account.  I am challenging the EFCC to establish the account details, the name of the bank and the name of the said son and should they refuse to establish this, I will order my lawyer to sue them for N10billion.

AljazirahNigeria reliably gathered that EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, and Maina have been friends for years since Magu’s days as head of operations in the EFCC, but the latest bone of contention has been Maina’s governorship ambition in 2019. It was alleged that Magu is also nursing the same ambition, and is no longer comfortable with Maina. The two gladiators are from Borno State. While Maina is from Biu, Magu is from Kanuri.

AljazirahNigeria reliably gathered from a source in the Presidency that Maina is being positioned to take over from the incumbent governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, which political leaders have endorsed as Maina contributed to the re-election of Shettima in cash and in kind. Maina told AljazirahNigeria that he has paid his dues and no pension thieves, and their collaborators can stop his governorship election. “I am not a criminal, the news about me is pure blackmail to rubbish my name and integrity,” he said.

The source also informed AljazirahNigeria that there is likelihood that the Presidency may settle with Maina because of the following reasons:

Maina won his case in court against the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari wants to prove to the world that his government is one that obeys court judgments.

. The N3trillion to be recovered from pension thieves by Maina can as well be injected into the economy to boost infrastructural development and wet the ground for the President’s second term bid as the race to the 2019 presidential election gathers momentum.

However, two civil society groups namely; the Integrity Watch International and the Buhari Anti-Corruption Support Group in separate interviews with AljazirahNigeria wants the President to take urgent steps to tackle the Mainagate once for all for the country to move forward.

The national coordinator of Integrity Watch International, Peter Nwosu, said his group has given the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to reinstate Maina. According to him, “what is playing out is an act of grand conspiracy by the pension looters to implicate Maina and get away with their loot. The President must give Maina chance to come out to express himself and provide him with maximum security. We are convinced that Maina is not a criminal following hard facts that he has revealed so far.”

  In his remarks, the President of the Buhari Anti-Corruption Support Group, Bello Sani, lamented the decay in the system which he attributed to corruption in the Nigerian system. He said, “those in the Mainagate should be thoroughly investigated and brought to book. The money Maina has promised to recover for the government can conveniently boost the economy. With the N3trillion from Maina, the President should jettison the $5.5billion loan he was seeking because borrowing that huge money can mortgage the future of the unborn generation g Nigerians.”

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