Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said the agency intends to visit Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States of America and the United Kingdom (UK), in a bid to fish out former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), AbdulRasheed Maina.
Manu also said on a television programme monitored in Lagos yesterday, that Maina has, so far, escaped arrest, because powerful Nigerians are shielding him from justice. The EFCC boss did not, however, disclose the identity of the persons allegedly protecting Maina but absolved the agency of any blame in connection to Maina’s initial escape from the country.
In 2013, Maina fled the country after the EFCC declared him wanted over alleged pension fraud to the tune of $2 billion.
The former pension boss returned to the country and was reinstated as a director in the Ministry of Interior.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his immediate dismissal and ordered the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita to investigate the circumstances which surrounded Maina’s return and reinstatement.
Regardless, Magu described Maina’s reinstatement as “devastating and that the EFCC would not spare anyone involved in it.
“I really don’t know what happened. But, I know that he had been properly placed on the watchlist and he couldn’t have sneaked into this country without the law enforcement agencies. So, something was wrong somewhere. Actually, we need to look at that.”
Speaking on steps currently taken by the EFCC to ensure Maina’s re-arrest, he said: “He has already been declared wanted by the INTERPOL and we are going to visit other countries for assistance, particularly Dubai, USA and UK.
“We are already on the manhunt, seriously. We will go after everybody who is involved. I am telling you, we will not spare anybody.
“He has people who are protecting him and that has made it difficult for us to get him arrested. You can imagine, he was promoted. It was devastating, it was beyond my understanding!”
Magu also commended the National Assembly for its support on the matter. The matter has been in court and Maina was also charged before the court. He was arraigned in absentia. I assure you, we will get him sooner or later. The National Assembly is supporting us. We are collaborating and we are also giving them support. We have no problem with the National Assembly.”
“The way the media and other Nigerians can help us is to give us information to get Maina arrested.”
On July 21, 2015, EFCC charged Maina, alongside Stephen Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton of Global Services Limited, before Justice Gabriel Kolowole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 24-count charge on procurement fraud and obtaining property by false pretences.
While Oronsaye and the two others were arraigned in court, Maina was not. Although Maina was at large, he was represented by a lawyer, Esther Uzoma.