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Wednesday, 2 October 2019

N2bn fraud: DSS hunts for Abdulrasheed arrested Maina’s informants

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is expected to take custody of the Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, from the Department of State Services this week.

Also, the DSS  is on the trail of the security officials who were  Maina’s informants, The Punch has learnt.

Maina, who has been on the wanted list of the EFCC in the past four years over alleged  N2.1bn pension fraud, was apprehended by the DSS shortly after entering the country from his Dubai base.

A senior EFCC official confirmed to Punch on Tuesday that the former Director of Human Resources Department, Ministry of Interior, would soon be handed over to the anti-graft agency for interrogation and arraignment.

He had been charged alongside ex-Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe, Fredrick Hamilton and Global Services Limited before the  Federal High Court in Abuja on  24 counts bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretences, in July 2015, but he absconded from the country shortly after.

Punch correspondents had reported that Maina had been visiting the country regularly from his base in United Arab Emirates, despite being on the watch lists of  the security agencies.

Maina, in January 2019, secured a court order stopping the EFCC from declaring him wanted. Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court described the EFCC’s action as unlawful, but the commission filed an appeal against the order.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said he could confirm the date Maina would be handed over to the agency by the DSS.

 It was learnt in Abuja on Tuesday that the  DSS   had focused on some of the security officials who worked closely with the ex-Ministry of Interior chief before he escaped from the country.

A source close to the development said the Maina saga was “an embarrassment” to the anti-corruption stance of the Buhari administration.

It was learnt that the President directed the DSS to “find Maina and bring him to justice”.

Maina was arrested in an unnamed hotel in Abuja late on Monday after an alleged near-gunfight with the DSS officers detailed to arrest him after he allegedly sneaked into the country.

Attempts to get a response from spokesman for the  DSS, Dr Peter Afunnaya,  were unsuccessful.

Calls to his mobile telephone were not returned. Also, he had yet to reply to a text message sent to him on the subject as of the time of filing this report.(Punch)




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