How deal for Maina’s re­in­state­ment was struck

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - John Chuks Azu

Fresh de­tails have emerged of how the em­bat­tled for­mer chair­man of the Pen­sion Re­form Task Team (PRTT), Ab­dul­rasheed Maina al­legedly “ar­ranged” for his re­in­state­ment and sub­se­quent with­drawal of the court case he in­sti­tuted against the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment, with in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­u­als in the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion (AGF) and Min­is­ter for Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Con­tro­versy has trailed the al­leged role of the of­fice of the AGF, the Min­is­ter for In­te­rior, Ab­dul­rah­man Dam­baz­zau, the chair­man of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu; the Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (FCSC), Oluremi Joseph Akande; and the Head of Ser­vice of the Fed­er­a­tion, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita in Maina’s re­in­state­ment and pro­mo­tion into the Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice, which was ap­proved on Au­gust 16 and com­pleted in Oc­to­ber with a rank of Di­rec­tor Grade Level 17 and back­dated to Fe­bru­ary 21, 2013.

How­ever, it has emerged that much of the work, in­clud­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion to get Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to use his “pres­i­den­tial di­rec­tive” to ef­fect Maina’s re­in­state­ment was done in the of­fice of the AGF. The of­fice had ini­ti­ated the move for Maina’s re­call af­ter he was re­ported to have made some vis­its and ten­dered the court cases he had in­sti­tuted chal­leng­ing his dis­en­gage­ment from the civil ser­vice.

The pre­sen­ta­tion by the drama­tis per­sonae in the saga in­clud­ing the Di­rec­tor­Gen­eral of the Depart­ment of State Ser­vices (DSS), Mam­man Daura; the Com­man­dant of the Nige­rian Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vice (NIS), Muhammed Ba­band­ede at Thurs­day’s sit­ting of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ad-hoc com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing the dis­ap­pear­ance, reap­pear­ance, re­in­state­ment and pro­mo­tion of Maina, in­clud­ing ad­mis­sion by the AGF on how he ar­rived at the opinion he prof­fered for his re­in­state­ment, has fur­ther ex­posed the ir­reg­u­lar­ity in the process.

The AGF ten­dered copies of the memo gen­er­ated from his of­fice, which played a piv­otal part in Maina’s re­in­state­ment and promised that he has set up an in­ter­nal probe into how one of his Spe­cial As­sis­tants ar­rived at the memo to con­vince him “as to how the ef­fect of judg­ment pro­vided by Maina could have a co­essen­tial ef­fect on re­in­state­ment which was not de­vel­oped and pre­sented.”

Sources said Maina had on such vis­its to the min­istry be­tween Fe­bru­ary and May, 2017, which was a fol­low-up of his ear­lier meet­ing with the AGF out­side the coun­try, pre­sented the var­i­ous suits he ini­ti­ated and the opinion of his lawyer, Mah­mud Ma­gaji (SAN) that his query and dis­missal for ab­scond­ment de­spite the pen­dency and even­tual or­der void­ing the war­rant by Jus­tice Adamu Bello in suit No: FHC/ CV/65/2013 be­fore an Abuja Fed­eral High Court, was sub­ju­dice and amounted to con­tempt of court.

His lawyer sug­gested that the action ne­gated the prin­ci­ple that once a mat­ter has been placed within the do­main of the court, no action shall or ought to be taken by any party thereto to de­base or in any way un­der­mine the out­come of the court’s in­ter­ven­tion.

Maina thus con­tended that the action sack­ing him from the Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice was taken with­out given him fair hear­ing more so as he was forced into hid­ing be­cause of the war­rant of ar­rest is­sued by the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Es­tab­lish­ment to the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice and an at­tempt on his life by some un­known as­sailants trace­able to per­sons who felt threat­ened by “the fraud of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tion” he dis­cov­ered in the coun­try’s pen­sion sys­tem.

Maina fur­ther ex­plained to the aides of the AGF that he also ini­ti­ated suit no: NICN/ABJ/68/2013 be­fore the In­dus­trial Court in Abuja chal­leng­ing the action of the Head of Ser­vice of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­istry of In­te­rior in the query dated Fe­bru­ary 15, 2013 which cited him for se­ri­ous mis­con­duct of­fend­ing Pub­lic Ser­vice Rules 030301 to 0303014 for his ab­scond­ment from duty fol­low­ing a war­rant of ar­rest by the po­lice and de­mand­ing the sum of N2.5 bil­lion in dam­ages.

He ex­plained that Jus­tice Adamu Bello of the Fed­eral High Court in Abuja on March 27, 2013 held that the war­rant of ar­rest was a nul­lity and that the pro­ce­dure adopted by the Se­nate was not valid based on the pow­ers of the Na­tional Assem­bly in sec­tions 88 and 89 of the Con­sti­tu­tion be­cause he was not given fair hear­ing.

Af­ter Maina’s pre­sen­ta­tions, on April 27, 2017 a le­gal as­sis­tant to Malami, pro­duced the said memo de­tail­ing why the AGF act­ing within his pow­ers in Sec­tion 174 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, should re-em­pha­size his advice to the FCSC to give con­se­quen­tial ef­fect to the judg­ment of the Fed­eral High Court. The aide sug­gested also that the AGF can “weight ad­vi­sory to the pres­i­dent to is­sue a Pres­i­den­tial Di­rec­tive to the FCSC to re­in­state Maina to his nor­mal po­si­tion and full rights and priv­i­leges.”

Ear­lier, the AGF had in a let­ter with ref­er­ence no: HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol.1/2 dated Fe­bru­ary 21, 2017 where he gave an in­ter­pre­ta­tion that the judg­ment of the Fed­eral High Court in 2013 voided the war­rant of ar­rest “is­sued by the po­lice against Dr Ab­dul­rasheed Maina, which war­rant of ar­rest formed the ba­sis for the query ref­er­enced MI/30040/1/1 dated the 15th day of Fe­bru­ary, 2013 and his even­tual dis­missal from the ser­vice of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of Nige­ria on the 5th day of March 2013.”

In the memo ti­tled: ‘Com­plaint of il­le­gal dis­missal and ap­peal for re­in­state­ment of Dr Ab­dul­rasheed Maina to his of­fice, de­mand for update of the re­in­state­ment of Dr Ab­dul­rasheed Maina as Di­rec­tor in the Fed­eral Civil Ser­vice’, the said SA also submitted that re­call­ing Maina would be in pub­lic in­ter­est be­cause it would give hope to other civil ser­vants who have sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence like Maina.

He said Maina has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in pen­sion ad­min­is­tra­tion that can be tapped, adding that he can be used as pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness for the EFCC and ICPC in the pend­ing cases of pen­sion scam in var­i­ous courts.

“That as head when the fraud of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tion was dis­cov­ered and a huge sum of stolen funds re­port­edly re­cov­ered un­der his watch and given the fact he must have re­ported some gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to agen­cies like EFCC and ICPC and strike a deal to act as pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness in most of the cases un­der investigation,” the SA wrote in the memo.

Sat­is­fied the process was in place, Maina agreed to with­draw the suit be­fore the Na­tional In­dus­trial Court in Abuja where he had de­manded “an or­der quash­ing the en­tire steps taken by the Head of Ser­vice of the Fed­er­a­tion on the dis­missal of the claimant.”

Based on the ap­pli­ca­tion by Maina’s lawyers for­mally with­draw­ing the suit, Jus­tice Olu­funke Anowe on Novem­ber 8 struck it out from the court’s records.

How­ever, sources al­leged many “is­sues” played a ma­jor role in the of­fi­cial advice and the pur­ported let­ter from the of­fice of the AGF to the FCSC for Maina’s re­in­state­ment. Thus, the AGF at the House hear­ing on Thurs­day promised that he had di­rected the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry to probe the memo and the let­ter to the FCSC to un­ravel what re­ally tran­spired and he would re­port back to the House.

“When this con­tro­versy arose, I in­structed the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary taken into con­sid­er­a­tion my ear­lier K.I.V. of a let­ter dated 5th Oc­to­ber, that they should ini­ti­ate process to now un­ravel what truly tran­spired if in­deed those let­ters have ac­tu­ally em­anated from the Fed­eral Min­istry of Jus­tice and what in­deed tran­spired. I can as­sure you I can ask them to ex­pe­dite action for that,” he said.

Sat­is­fied the process was in place, Maina agreed to with­draw the suit be­fore the Na­tional In­dus­trial Court in Abuja where he had de­manded “an or­der quash­ing the en­tire steps taken by the Head of Ser­vice of the Fed­er­a­tion on the dis­missal of the claimant

Min­is­ter of Jus­tice/At­tor­ney -Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, Abubakar Malami

Ab­dul­rasheed Maina

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