N5.32bn was stolen in two offices by civil servants annually
Embattled chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, is now a haunted specie beyond the framed up allegations and media trial he is presently facing because before his team was set up, the total of what is stolen yearly in the nation’s pension sector is N63.6billion!
One of the reporters who had followed the pension saga from the beginning, Olajide Fashikun in a briefing in Kaduna told journalists “between the Head of Service and the Police Pension office, the two places Maina’s team worked, a leakage of N5.32billion was stopped per annum. This is what civil servants steal monthly in the two offices out of the 99 pension offices in the country. 43 persons were arrested and handed over to the EFCC to prosecute while 222 houses were seized from them.
In the current media trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, all manners of stories has been published. There has been a lot of distortion of facts and sometimes outright blackmail, all in an attempt to paint the PRTT boss black like Lucifer.
N4.2billion stolen yearly in Police pension: He said, after the biometric exercise, there were 71,000 genuine workers in the police pension office who needed N826million to pay them unlike N5.3billion appropriated for them annually. They were pocketing N4.2billion yearly. They devise several ingenious ways to pull these cash out. They pull out an average of N300million daily Monday to Friday. There are bank alerts to substantiate these assertions.
There is a particular person who has 69 cloned versions of his name on the pay roll. Bank officials were in cohort. Names of dead pensioners were ‘exhumed’ from the dead and paid pension. Accounts were created with fictitious names.
The agents who do the multiple collection of these monies from banks get 5% of the volume collected. One of the folks caught then by name Haruna Maigida was paid via three accounts in June 2011 the sums of N7,783,891.68, N17,452,910.87 and N17,293,888.44. He got 5% for pulling the cash. He confessed when the EFCC officials arrested him.
How Senator Etuk stole from me: In petitions one of Teidi’s aide made to the EFCC and ICPC, Mr. Tiedi had said he paid the money to Senator Etuk in foreign currency and that the bribe was meant to prevent their prosecution. He told investigators that he equally bribed Farida Waziri, former Chairman of the EFCC. Why has the two anti-graft agencies not investigated this matter? Why are they after the man who caught the ‘thieves’ and are not after the ‘thieves’?
According to Olajide Fashikun, a journalist who followed the whole developments from the beginning, “there has been a lot of deliberate cover in a well written script to give Maina a bad name. If Maina stole, it certainly cannot be from the PRTT. Those who worked in the PRTT do ‘kabu-kabu’ to augment their survival. They were severely starved of funds.
The experienced journalist added, “the reasons are simple. Maina’s PRTT was a clog in the wheel of so many who were looting the pensioner’s funds. Maina’s PRTT was brought in to sanitise a very corrupt pension system. It was the success of his pension system in the Ministry of Interior that brought him to the PRTT. Many Nigerians will not forget that for years, aged pensioners suffered and even died roaming the streets of Abuja while waiting for their pensions.
N195bn not stolen, its in TSA: “Emerging evidence has shown that Maina is just a victim of the popular saying, that when you fight corruption, corruption will fight back. In a hurry to crucify Maina, the Senate committee did what could best be described as a hatchet job. They told the nation he stole N195billion. On 13th April 2016, former Kano Governor, Kabiru Gaya, told TheSun newspaper in an interview that that money was never missing. So, why is he being tried for the money that is now confirmed is not missing?
Price for reporting pension scandal: Fashikun who lost a new Camry car that was crushed for exposing the pressures the PRTT was then exposed said, “for those who understand the structure of the task force, they will let you know that Maina like none of them therein never had access to the pension fund and could never have taken one Naira lest over N2 billion.
Okonjo-Iweala told Senate that Maina had no business with cash: “Former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala during a Senate meeting said that Maina had no contact with funds and revealed how she froze the account where the monies recovered by Maina’s committee was kept and how she transferred the funds to the CBN.
But the question is why will the EFCC continue to hound a man for an offence which they know he is innocent of? Besides, Maina was only the head of the team which comprised of EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NIA, office of Accountant General, Auditor General Public Complaints Commission etc. He was the only civilian in the Task Team.
Perhaps, Maina was just a victim of high power play of some powerful individuals in high places, who at some point got irritated for his refusal to ‘share the money’. So, for three years, Maina suffered what has become known in Nigeria’s anti-corruption war as ‘media trial’ – where a man is found guilty several times on the pages of newspaper.
Despite the several facts presented before the Senate committee during the hearing, the committee chose to ignore the facts. They threatened President Goodluck Jonathan. Maina was shot with five bullets wounds on the side glass of the bullet proof car Jonathan gave him.
Mr. Maina said he had “verifiable” evidence the federal pension scheme was returning to “the looting era” which his team set out to end, with an alleged 98% of pensioners denied their benefits since November, 2012.
As soon as Maina was driven to exile before the coming of the PTAD, N35billion was stolen in the Head of Service. The ICPC did not come out with the report. How come no body is talking about these monies?