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Maina Reps committee says Malami committed fraud by reinstating fugitive

The committee concluded that Malami's actions regarding the reinstatement violated the constitution.

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Reps committee says Malami committed fraud by reinstating Maina play

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami

(ThisDay)

A House of Representatives ad-hoc committee has determined that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, 'fraudulently masterminded' the controversial reinstatement of wanted ex-pensions reform chief, Abdulrasheed Maina.

In October 2017, Maina was recalled and promoted to head the Ministry of Interior's human resource department despite pending corruption charges against him. This was after he was dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission in 2013 following a recommendation by the Office of the Head of Service.

After he was declared wanted over an alleged N2 billion pension fraud, he fled abroad to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), evading the capture of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

AGF Malami has no regrets having secret meeting with Maina, says Buhari knew play

Former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina

(Premium Times)

 

AGF Malami; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji; and Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, have all been implicated in the scandal.

According to a report by Daily Trust, the committee, chaired by Honourable Aliyu Madaki (APC, Kano), indicted Malami for meeting with Maina in Dubai despite being aware of his fugitive status, and then used the influence of his office to reinstate him.

In the 13-page report laid on the floor of the House a fortnight ago, the committee argued that Malami's actions regarding the reinstatement contravened Section 158 of the 1999 constitution.

He was rebuked for applying undue interference and pressure on the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to push Maina's reinstatement through.

The report read, "Section158 (1) of the constitution states: "In exercising its power to make appointments or to exercise disciplinary control over persons, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Federal Character Commission, and the Independent National Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person.

"The Attorney General knew that Maina is a fugitive, yet he met him in Dubai. Maina's reinstatement didn't follow due process and it was fraudulently masterminded."

While appearing before the committee on November 30, 2017, Department of State Services (DSS) chief, Lawal Daura, disclosed that he had told Malami to meet with Maina abroad after the AGF asked for his advice.

He said, "The attorney general of the federation sometime in 2016 or 2015 - can't remember the exact day because it was not through a formal document - placed a call to me when he was outside the country and requested my advise on a request he got through a source that Maina wanted to meet him.

"He wanted me to advise him whether to agree to see Maina or not in that foreign country.

"I responded to the attorney general that he should accept to see Maina but he should not see him alone. He should see him with a third party."

In January 2018, the AGF defended his decision to meet with Maina, disclosing that the meeting aided in "solidifying (fraud) cases in terms of conviction".

He said, "If hundreds of Mainas believe that they have information to offer as far as the protection of the national interest is concerned, I will meet them and will do so again. It boils down to whether I have indeed acted or I have not acted."

In light of Malami's indiscretion, the committee recommended that the minister be reprimanded and cautioned and be further advised on how best to deal with similar issues and not interfere in matters outside his jurisdiction.

The committee also faulted the role of Perm Sec Magaji in the reinstatement as he was accused of facilitating it without the necessary written clearance from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation. The committee recommended that he also be cautioned despite his display of remorse over his role.

The Federal Civil Service Commission was also blamed by the committee for taking directive from the office of the Attorney General in contravention of Section 158 of the constitution, and was urged to adhere to civil service rules in such matters and not to succumb to pressure from any quarters.

HoS Oyo-Ita, the EFCC, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) were all cleared of any wrongdoing in the controversy.

The committee declared that Maina's original dismissal from the civil service in 2013 remains valid and his reinstatement is voided, as he remains on the run while maintaining his innocence.

Malami denies writing letter of reinstatement

While it is believed that Maina's meeting with Malami while he was in hiding led to his controversial recall last year, AGF Malami has denied writing the letter that started the process.

He told the House committee that the letter of reinstatement never had his authorisation despite bearing the seal of his office.

After his appearance before the committee, the AGF filed an ex-parte application in the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, January 8, 2018, to stop the National Assembly from investigating the scandal, arguing that it lacks the "legislative competence" to do so.

Justice Binta Nyako declined the application, ruling that the defendants appear in court to explain why the application should not be granted.

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