Fugitive former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, has requested to appear before a House of Representatives investigative panel, Daily Trust has learnt.
The House is probing the circumstances of his controversial promotion and reinstatement into the federal civil service.
Maina is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged billion naira fraud.
Following media reports about his secret reinstatement, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his immediate sack.
He also directed the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS), to submit a report on how Maina was recalled into the service.
The report was submitted but its content was soon after leaked to the media causing more scandal for the government because it revealed the involvement of senior government officials in the whole affair.
Sources within and outside the panel told Daily Trust yesterday that Maina, who was reported to have fled the country after the scandal of his secret reinstatement and promotion to a position of director, is indeed somewhere in the country.
It was gathered that Maina submitted some documents to the House panel, chaired by Aliyu Sani Madaki, (APC Kano State).
The documents, Daily Trust further learnt, were submitted by one Barrister Muhammad Sani Katu, a lawyer with the Justice Maman Nasir Chambers.
Maina is expected to appear before the panel next week barring change of schedule, the sources said.
However, the sources said, powerful forces were making frantic efforts to prevent him from appearing before the panel as he is likely to open “can of worms” against them.
“Yes, he has expressed his readiness to appear before the panel to testify. But the problem is that some forces don’t want him to appear, because they feel threatened; they feel he’s likely to open can of worms.
“That’s the true picture of the situation, but the committee has gone far in its activities. What we can’t say certainly is if the forces will allow the man (Maina) to appear before the committee,” a source familiar with the matter said.
The House last month resolved to probe the circumstances that led to Maina’s recall which it described as embarrassing and unacceptable.
Madaki could not be reached to confirm Maina’s readiness to testify before his committee as his mobile phones were shut down at the time of filing this report.
Maina, who chaired the pension task force during last administration, was alleged to have mismanaged billions of naira meant pensioners across the country.
The 7th Senate had probed the matter and indicted him for the offence.
Following the indictment, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared him wanted. But he allegedly embarked on a self-exile.
He reportedly returned to the country surreptitiously earlier this and got recalled into the civil service and promoted to the position of a director, even though he left the civil service as an assistant director in 2013.
Malami’s case going Babachir’s way
Preliminary investigation into Maina’s case has shown that it may lead to a repeat of the episode of the sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal, senators have said.
Lawal’s trouble started in senate when he was indicted in a grass cutting scandal and finally sacked last month by President Buhari.
Senators who are probing Maina’s scandal told Daily Trust last night that three incriminating evidence have been received against the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
The Senate on October 24, this year resolved to probe the scandal following a point of order by Senator Issah Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi) on the issue.
A probe panel chaired by Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP, Bayelsa) had held series of closed sessions with top officials of the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Dambazau, the AGF and other parties.
Twice the panel held secret meetings with the AGF. The first meeting was held on Tuesday and the second one yesterday. It was from the first meeting that it emerged that the AGF met with Maina in Dubai.
A member of the committee said three incriminating evidence against the AGF are in their possession.
“The issue is more than his meeting with Maina in Dubai, it is about the documents. When he appeared on Tuesday, we showed him the documents. He accepted one but say he should be given time to look into the remaining two. This is why he appeared again today (yesterday),” he said.
Our correspondent reports that yesterday’s meeting was conducted at the office of the panel’s chairman. Sources at the committee said the panel relocated from the hearing room to the office following the leak of their Tuesday’s meeting to newsmen.
Another member of the panel said: “ we felt may be you people (journalists) hid your recorders at the hearing room when we excused you on Tuesday and that was why you got the information on what transpired in our closed session.
“Our finding is going the way of the sacked SGF and we will not allow you the media to jeopardize it,” the Senator said, pleading not to be named.
The source who said it would be difficult for Malami to survive the scandal, said Dambazau knew nothing about how Maina was secretly reinstated and promoted into the civil service.
In an interview, Paulker told our correspondent that nothing would be swept under the carpet in Maina’s probe.
Malami could not be reached for comments last night, but Paulker said the AGF will appear again before the panel next week, assuring that, “our report will be ready before Christmas break. We are conducting the investigation in this way because we don’t want our report to be coloured by the media.”