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Maina Senate sets up committee to probe ex-pension chief's reinstatement

Lawmakers will investigate how Maina was controversially recalled and promoted.

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Ex pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina play

Ex pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina

(Premium Times)

The Nigerian Senate has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the reinstatement and promotion of Abdulrasheed Maina despite pending corruption charges against him.

During plenary session on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, lawmakers questioned how the wanted former chairman of the defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms (PTTPR), was controversially recalled and promoted to head the Ministry of Interior's human resource department.

The committee set up by the Senate will comprise of the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the Senate Anti-Corruption Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Interior and the Public Service Establishment Committee.

The committee has been charged with uncovering how Maina was reinstated into public service and how he got promoted to the level of director despite his dismissal from the civil service and placement on the "Wanted List" of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In 2013, the ex-Pension reforms boss was dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission following a recommendation by the Office of the Head of Service.

In 2015, Maina was charged alongside former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence through the award of fraudulent biometric contracts.

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 EFCC.

On Monday, October 23, after his reinstatement drew public outcry on the government, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered Maina's 'disengagement' and ordered a full investigation into the circumstances of his recall.

ALSO READ: Buhari fires reinstated ex-pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina

Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, have been reported to be instrumental to Maina's recall, but, Dambazau's press secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, released a statement on Sunday, October 22, to clarify that Maina was recalled through the office of the head of service.

After submitting a full report on Maina's recall and posting to the office of the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, on Monday, Head of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, denied that she had anything to do with Maina's return.

However, fresh documents have emerged and revealed that all three top officials, AGF Malami, Dambazau and Oyo-Ita, were involved in Maina's recall.

While the Senate commended President Buhari's prompt dismissal of Maina, Senator Dino Melaye criticised the president's inner circle, especially AGF Malami, noting that even though the president is a good man, he is "surrounded by cankerworms and caterpillars."

He added, "We will continue to deliberate like this until we stand up on behalf of the people into his country. We should have the audacity to take strong decisions."

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