TE Throwback: Heads That May Roll on Mainagate

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Back in October 2017 when President Muhammadu was fuming over the recall and promotion of  Abdulrasheed Maina who was supposed to be on the run for misappropriating N100 billion pension funds, Today’s Echo wrote an exclusive on those that may become affected by the case.

Two years later, two out of the three people mentioned in this article are out of government.

Read the full article below:

The Federal government has received a strong backlash over the recall and promotion of a former chairman of presidential taskforce on pension reform, Abdulrasheed Maina, who had been on the run from the law in connection to a fraud case.

Maina was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as Chairman of the task force in 2010 to check the corruption in the country’s pension system.

In 2012, the Nigeria Police accused him of misappropriating N100 billion pension funds in connivance with others.

The Civil Service Commission reportedly dismissed him for “absconding from duty’’.

Maina was arraigned in absentia by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which declared him wanted in 2015, and he has been on the run since.

It was however, shocking when news reports began to filter in that Maina has not only been recalled, he has been appointed to head a department in the ministry of internal affairs.

With the immediate sack of Maina from the Civil service and order for investigation into his alleged recall and appointment, President Buhari seems set to make somebody answer for this disgraceful act that has undermined his government’s fight against corruption

As the latest storm blowing over Muhamadu Buhari’s government continues to rage on and accusations and counter-accusations fly around, Today’s Echo examines the situation surrounding Maina’s recall and those who are at risk of facing the wrath of the president.

  1. General Dambazzau (retrd)

Lieutenant-General Bello Dambazzau is the Minister of Interior. He is the man heading the ministry where Maina was appointed, therefore many people believed the incidence could not have happened without his knowledge and influence. After the story broke out, several questions were directed at him, to know his role in the saga.

Dambazzau  confirmed to journalists that that it is true that Maina has be appointed to his ministry and promoted to be director of Human resources. However, he claimed to have had no hand in his posting.

Press Secretary to the Minister Ehisienmen Osaigbovo, in a statement  four days ago, said Maina was posted a few days ago to the Ministry on acting capacity. The minister also claimed that he doesn’t have the power nor the responsibilities to influence the process of Discipline, Re-engagement, and Deployment of any civil servant to his Ministry or any other Ministry for that matter.

He said such responsibilities are vested in the Federal Civil Service Commission and/or the Head of Civil Service. This is seen as an attempt to pass on the entire blame on the Head of Service. Nevertheless, if it is discovered that he had played a larger roll in the saga than he admits, he might just lose his job.

  1. Mrs Oyo Ita

Mrs Winifred Oyo Ita is the Head of Service of the federal government. She was implicated in the Maina case because the minister of interior indicated that she was the one that endorsed the recall of Maina without his knowledge. Dambazzau’s allegations against her became weightier after it was discovered that Maina’s appointment was backdated to 2015 and he had been paid arrears of over N20mln.

President Buhari ordered her to carry out an investigation on the issue immediately and submit its report within 48 hours. Oyo Ita carried out the investigation and submitted the report to the president’s chief of staff, Abba Kyari, on Tuesday. Oyo Ita alleged that Dambazzau had lied against her. In a statement released by her Assistant Director, Media Relations, Mohammed Manga, she said:

“The attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been drawn to several media reports that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has approved the reinstatement into the Federal Civil Service of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina and his subsequent posting to the Ministry of Interior.

“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) wishes to inform the public that the reinstatement and posting of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina never emanated from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. The war of words has continued between the two senior government officials. If found guilty of complicity in this conspiracy, Buhari will be merciless with her.

  1. Abubakar Malami: Attorney-General

The war of accusations between the head of service and the minister of interior was still ongoing when further details began to emerge about the Attorney General’s involvement in the issue. News reports allege that Malami had in a letter with Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/3, directed the Federal Civil Service Commission to give consequential effect to a judgment he said voided the process that led to Maina’s dismissal from service.

Vanguard reports that, ‘on the strenght of the letter, the FCSC, at the end of a meeting it held on June 14, 2017, requested the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, vide a letter marked FC.4029/82/Vol. III/160, and dated June 21, to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter and make appropriate recommendations regarding Maina’s case”.

So far, Malami has been silent on the issue but he cannot be silent for long as the presidency seeks who to blame for this embarrassing episode. Meanwhile, Malami told journalists yesterday, that he is ready to speak to Nigerians about the issue. Well, he better speak up fast, or else, it may be his head rolling.

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