The trial in absentia of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman, Pension Reform Task Force Team, (PRTFT), before Justice Okong Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting Maina, alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd on a 12-count charge of operating fictitious bank accounts, corruption, and money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.
The trial, counsel to Common Input Property and Investment Ltd (the second defendant), Adeola Adegbite told the court of his intention to disengage as the company’s counsel, but even though Prosecution counsel, M.S. Abubakar, acknowledged the receipt of the defence counsel’s disengagement application, dated November 25, 2020, and made no objection to it, Justice Abang, ruled that Adegbite remained counsel to the second defendant by the court records.
The testimonies against Maina, continued with that of the ninth prosecution witness, (PW9), Rouqayyah Ibrahim, a principal investigation officer with the EFCC in Anti Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing (AML CFT) unit of the Commission and member, Pension Fraud Team, who stated that he knew Maina and Input Property Investment Ltd, following the invitation of the EFCC in 2010, to join in the pension verification exercise.
According to him, a payment mandate, bearing the names of several individuals, totaling N94 million was discovered during the cause of the verification, and that some of the pensioners’ names on the list were fake, for which a report was made to the EFCC by the team, leading eventually to the creation of the Pension Fraud Team.
The Pension Fraud Team, he said, wrote to about 30 banks, requesting the bank accounts of Mr. Steven Oransanya as the Head of Service, in which it turned out that Mr. Oransanya at that time, operated 66 illegal bank accounts, unknown to the Accountant General.
“Our investigation revealed that there were five modus operandi that the suspect whom we were investigating at that time was using to steal money from the pension account. In total we were able to deduce that N14 billion was stolen from the pension account. In the five modus operandi was payment to fake pensioners,
non-existing contracts, illegal payment to National Union of Pension NUP and illegal payment to another association called Association of Retired Federal Civil Servants.
“We discovered that the suspect will often pay companies for non-existing biometric contract and once the payment is made, they withdraw cash and hand it over and likewise payment to the two association of NUP and Association of Retired Federal Civil Servants. They will withdraw the money cash and hand it over to the person who asked them to supply the account.’’
“Once we concluded the investigation of those who were indicted, they were charged to court, and some have been convicted,” the witness said.
According to him, Abdulrasheed Maina was part of those indicted and charged before Justice I. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, but that he ran away for six years. And was arrested and charged before the present court.