• His sack followed due process -Presidency
By Christiana Ekpa, Umar Muhamnad Puma and Lawrence Olaoye Abuja
The National Assembly has commenced probe into the circumstances surrounding the return and reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, sacked Chairman of defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.
The senate yesterday set up an ad hoc committee to investigate Maina’s recall.
This is just as the House of Representatives has also directed an investigation into circumstances surrounding the readmission and elevation of former chairman of the presidential task force on pension matters, Abdulrasheed Maina in the federal civil service.
Abdulrasheed Maina was chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms.
He was in 2012, accused of a pension fraud and was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in 2013,after which he allegedly absconded from the country.
The Senate committee, which would be headed by Chairman Senate Committee on Establishment & Public Service, Mr Emmanuel Paulker would comprise of chairmen and vice chairmen of committees on Judiciary, Interior and Anti-Corruption as well as vice chairman of committee on establishment.
The committee was mandated to further investigate how Maina got promoted to a post of a Director after his dismissal and being declared wanted.
This followed a motion by the Chairman Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Isah Misau, on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.
The Upper Chamber, which directed the ad hoc committee to carry out a thorough job to get to the root of the matter, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking prompt action on the matter.
Presenting the motion, Misau said his attention was drawn to newspaper publications and social media posts on the return, reinstatement and promotion of Maina.
He expressed disappointment with the fact that in spite of efforts by the present government to fight corruption, some people in the government were being accused of aiding and abetting corruption.
According to him, for someone on Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s(EFCC), wanted list for fraud related matters, to be “smuggled’’ into the public service, is worrisome.
“He was an Assistant Director but he is now promoted to the position of Director not even a Deputy Director and we heard Police officers are even attached to him. I do not understand why a government that is always talking about fighting corruption is getting itself into a mess such as this.”
The lawmaker urged the senate to play its part by using its powers to investigate the matter.
Contributing, the Chief Whip, Sen. Olusola Adeyeye, said it was unfortunate that in spite the fact that Maina absconded from the country after being charged, he was brought back.
He said it was more disturbing was that he was reinstated into the public service and given an elevated position.
Adeyeye commended President Muhammadu Buhari for acting promptly by ordering Maina’s sack and setting up a committee to investigate the matter.
The Chief Whip urged President Buhari to ensure that those responsible for the act were brought to book, adding that, corruption was not limited to stealing money but incompetence.
Sen. Kabiru Marafa(APC-Zamfara) commended the senate for deliberating on the matter, saying it was of concern to Nigerians.
Sen. Bassey Akpan(PDP- Akwa Ibom ) said for the Attorney General of the Federation to be allegedly involved in the case was worrisome.
He said if found wanting in the ongoing investigation, a decisive action should be taken not to ridicule the revered office he held.
He said while President Buhari had set up a committee to investigate the matter, it would not stop the senate from playing its role.
He said, this senate must take this to a logical conclusion.
In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki commended the lawmakers that lent their voices to the motion.
He said the development was disturbing, in view of efforts by the present administration to fight corruption.
“I would like the ad hoc committee to work hard on this matter that bother on our security, corruption and how we manage the public service.’’
At the lower chamber, the resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved by Rep Jagaba Adams Jagaba, (APC Kaduna), who recalled how Maina fled the country to the United Arab Emirate in 2013, after being sacked following allegations of fraud, with the Nigeria Police specifically accusing him of mismanaging over N100 billion pension funds.
He urged the House to set up an Ad hoc committee to investigate the matter.
Speaking in support of the motion, Rep Daniel Reyenieju described the circumstances surrounding the return of Maina as “ridiculous and embarasing”, stressing that “if we do not investigate this matter and clear the air, the international community will never take us serious”.
Also in his submissions, Rep Mark Gbillah (APC Benue), who backed the call for the House’s independent investigation, expressed doubts that the executive arm would do due diligence on it, insisting that “we must get to the root of the matter”.
Onnhis part, Chief Whip of the House, Rep Alhassan Doguwa however advised that standing committees of the House must be diligent in their oversight engagements to prevent certain unwholesome practices in MDAs, adding that it was not enough to find out how Maina was brought back, but that “heads must roll”.
Meanwhile, the presidency has insisted that the sack of ex-chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari was in tandem with due process.
This is coming on the heels of reports by some lawyers that Maina’s sack by presidential fiat was a clear violation of the provisions of civil service rules.
In a series of tweets yesterday from the presidency’s twitter handle,@NGR President, the official government twit platform said Buhari only directed appropriate authorities to effect the order in compliance with due process.
According to the tweets“Reports that due process was not followed in the disengagement of Mr. Maina from service are incorrect.
“The President directed the appropriate authorities to effect the disengagement in compliance with due process.
“President Buhari will continue to ensure that due process is followed every step of the way.”
It will be recalled that the President on Monday ordered Maina’s immediate disengagement from service in a statement made available to newsmen by his Special Adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina.