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N3tn to be recouped from pension – Maina

*In his letter to Saraki in 2015 seeking for review

In his letter dated 19th June 2015 to the Senate President when he returned to Nigeria seeking for a review of his case, Maina had revealed that there is over N3trillion hidden, waiting to be retrieved from different sectors of the nation’s pension sector.

In the letter addressed to the Senate President with the title: “Pension reform task team – Appeal for review of investigation probe by Senate joint committee on establishment and public service and states and local government administration 2011 – 2013.

We, members of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) wish to use this medium to apologise for our little late response to reaching back to you. We had to put the issues together and source for appurtenant materials. We appreciate your understanding sir.

  1. As a refresher, the PRTT was inaugurated on 10thJune, 2010 by the immediate past administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, with a clear mandate to restructure the Head of Service Pension Office, Police Pension Office, among others. We did our utmost with precision and national interests as our guiding principles
  2. WE SAVED N1.6TRILLION FROM PENSION THIEVES: The PRTT took off effectively by January 2011. We used financial intelligence skills to achieve ground-breaking achievements in our assignment. We recovered and saved cash and properties worth over #1.6trillion. Our efforts led to the arrest and prosecution of the 46 persons/firms involved in looting of pension funds which we handed to the EFCC. The trials are still ongoing.

N256billion still stolen monthly: Quickly, as it is, there is a leakage of N256billion monthly from the current IPPIS which needs to be blocked urgently. We are also aware of some government hidden accounts which needs to be mopped up. We can be used to engage any department of government in sanitising the financial workflow to avoid loose ends that remain susceptible to leakages.

  1. THE ENTRY OF THE SENATE:Based on the revelations of massive/monumental fraud and outright stealing of pension funds, which was brought to public attention by the PRTT, the 7th National Assembly by resolution dated 2nd November, 2011 mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service, State and Local Government Administration, to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the management and administration of Pension funds in Nigeria. There was general expectations that the various dimensions of irregularities associated with the management of Pension funds in Nigeria would come to an end as a consequence of the investigations being conducted by the Senate Joint Committee.
  2. THE SENATE HAUNTED US, FAVOURED THOSE WE CAUGHT:However, the PRTT regrets to observe that, rather than achieving the objectives of the spirit and its mandate, which in our view includes, but not limited to identifying those responsible for the culture of fraud that characterised the system and bringing them to book, the Senate Joint Committee ended up creating more problems than solutions to the endemic corruption and fraud prevailing in the system.
  3. In this context, the PRTT, wishes to state without any fear of contradiction that the Senate Joint Committee’s Report submitted, which was subsequently adopted by the 7thSenate but now quashed by the Federal High Court judgement of the 13th March 2013 in favour of the PRTT’s Chairman, not only failed to address the issues at stake, but succeeded in misleading the Senate and the generality of Nigerians about the true picture, nature and scope of problems militating against the efficient management and administration of Pension Funds in Nigeria. Copy of said judgement attached and marked “ANNEXURE1”.
  4. WE HAD STABILISED PENSION PAYMENTS:We undertook fundamental processes which included the use of bio-metric data capture of pensioners. This exposed 73,000 ghost pensioners in the office of the Head of Service alone. Some pensioners got backlog of about 30 years paid into their accounts. All payments were ordered under the signature of the Head of Service monthly. We DO NOT CONTROL ONE KOBO ON OUR OWN.

We became objects of corruption fighting us back. From our first appearance before the Senate committee, it was obvious that the entire exercise conducted by the Committee, was geared towards achieving one purpose i.e, to discredit the Pension Reform Task Teak, disband it and by so doing stop the on-going reforms we had initiated, all of which by implication meant sustaining the status quo of free and mindless looting of funds meant for the payment of pensions in the country.

FRESH N35BILLION FRAUD IN HEAD OF SERVICE: Shortly, after we were forced out, the Office of the Head of Service was enmeshed in a N35billion fraud. The ICPC conducted the investigation. Till date, they are yet to commence the prosecution. Today, it is worse with the Police pension Office where daily so much millions are taken out of pension funds in that office. We have evidences to substantiate this.

  1. THE PHANTOM N195BILLION SENATE ALLEGATION:To achieve its objective of deceiving the Senate and Nigerians, the Committee Chairman (Sen. Aloysius Etuk) accused the Chairman of the PRTT, Abdulrasheed A. Maina, of embezzling, stealing, misappropriating and mismanagement of N195Billion of pension funds. He said this on the floor of the Senate as captured on live Television. He said the monies were stolen between 2005 and 2010, belonging to the following offices: Nitel Pensions, Nipost Pensions, NEPA Pensions, Railways Pensions, NPA Pensions, NNPC Pensions and all the Pensions offices in Nigeria.

The PRTT or its Chairman (Maina) never had contact, or ever worked or got engaged in activities of these Pension Offices. Two, we came into office in 2010 so how could we have stolen monies from 2005 to 2010 where we never had any contact? Etuk’s allegations formed the basis for the destruction of the person and career of the PRTT Chairman.

  1. SENATOR ETUKS EXPOSED BY HIS CO-TRAVELLERS:May we at this point bring to your attention copies of petitions written against the then Committee Chairman, Senator Aloysius Etuk by some aides of one of the suspected Pension thieves, who is being prosecuted by the EFCC. The petitions were sent to the EFCC and ICPC detailing the grand conspiracy against the PRTT and its Chairman. Its marked “ANNEXURE 2(a) & (b)”.
  2. KANGAROO DISMISSAL FROM CIVIL SERVICE: As we write to you, Abdulrasheed A. Maina has been dismissed from Civil Service for being absent for three days while his life was under threat following gun-shot attack on his person in front of Head of Civil Service Office, where his office was located in February, 2013. Attached are copies of letters from Nigeria Police Force. “ANNEXURE 3 (a) and (b)”. His dismissal process was concluded under 36 hours!
  3. DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION AND FAIR HEARING:It is in the light of these developments that the PRTT considers it imperative to present to you the truth, and nothing but the truth of the matter. The Task Team and its leadership were not only denied the opportunity for a fair hearing before being pronounced guilty of all manner of allegations, but even where the Task Team appeared before the Committee salient facts related to the issues at stake were deliberately ignored.
  4. FEDERAL HIGH COURT JUDGMENT WHICH THE SENATE REFUSED TO OBEY:Based on the foregoing, the PRTT had just one option. We appealed to the Senate President of the 7thSenate requesting for fair hearing which was ignored. As a result, the PRTT approached Federal High Court Abuja in suit number: FH/ABJ/CS/65/2013. Judgment was delivered on 13th March, 2013. The judge in his ruling held that the Senate failed to meet the constitutional provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Till date, the Senate has failed to appeal against the judgment of the Court or reverse its decision upon which it passed a resolution for the Chairman of the PRTT (MAINA) to be sacked from the Civil Service.

While the Senate failed to comply with the provisions of Section 88(1) and invite the PRTT to render its stewardship, the Executive adjudged same as excellent. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, following the presentation of our score card to the Economic Management Team on 23rdOctober, 2012 adopted our sterling activities to form part of the President’s mid term report.

  1. POST-DISMISSAL, WE EXPOSED N15BILLION MEANT TO BE STOLEN:It will interest you to know that the judgment quoted above, the PRTT continued its operations leading to the mopping up of unspent funds amounting to over N15Billion by then Honourable Minister of Finance, while placing the EFCC on alert following attempts to tamper with the said funds. Copies of letters attached and marked “ANNEXURE 4 (a) & (b)”.
  2. OVER N3TRILLION STILL OUT TO BE RECOUPED:While the PRTT was making efforts at recovering over N3trillion Pensions funds using its intelligence know-how, then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy without off-setting our expenses in line with Presidential Directives of 23rdOctober, 2012, established the Pension Transition Arrangement Department (PTAD).

PRTT operated and has continued to operate without any financial support leading to constant threats from consultants, informants, vendors, and auxiliary staffers who were not paid their allowances till date. Copies of letters to Minister of Finance and DG Budget Office attached and marked “ ANNEXURE 5 (a) & (b)”.

  1.      While the general public was being fed with news of PRTT Chairman (Maina) being on the run, he requested the House of Representatives for an appearance before its Committee on Pension matters to throw light on the Police Pension Fund management under the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy. Copies of letters attached and marked “ANNEXURE 6”.
  2. FURTHER THREATS: Unknown to the PRTT, the Chairman (Maina) was put on a “NO FLY  LIST” by the Comptroller of  Nigeria Immigrations and the Inspector-General of Police in disobedience to the 2013 order of the court. The PRTT Chairman again went to court to challenge this unlawful act and got judgement in his favour on 23rdOctober, 2014. Copies of the judgement and certificate of judgement attached and marked “ANNEXURE 7 (a) & (b)”.
  3. SOCIAL SECURITY BLUEPRINT:While we were working on the recovery of stolen funds, we raised an expert team that worked out funding of a social security plan. We were able to track enough cash to pay the minimum wage to all unemployed Nigerians for the next 15 years at no new cost to all tiers of government using funds that were to be mopped from the 97 pension offices yet to be reached.

OUR PRAYERS

  1. We are by this letter appealing to the Federal Government in the spirit of CHANGE which the country is witnessing, and the stand of government on corruption, that opportunity be given to us to present the truth about Pension Management in Nigeria.
  2. For the Senate to be made to reverse itself from the injustices that was meted to the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT)
  3. We shall seek the indulgence of the Senate President to set up an ad-hoc committee to review “1” above.
  4. Having been able to secure N1.6trillion from three pension offices, leaving out 97 such offices, given also that, so much hidden government we froze when we were working are there, a recall for us to work out the modalities will make available to government funds which can be used to pay backlog of pensioners’ two years salaries within another one month. This will give the government some promises made at election delivered to Nigerians.

While awaiting your favourable reply, do accept the assurances of our highest regards.

Yours faithfully,

 

ABDULRASHEED A. MAINA

Chairman PRTT.

 

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