There was another outrage on social media today, following the news that Abdulrasheed Maina fainted during the resumed hearing of his money laundering trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
This is the latest development on Maina’s still-unfolding N100 billion money laundering trial saga. A saga which has long been blowing into separate directions since it began atleast 5 years ago. Presently, he is standing trial on 12 counts of alleged laundering of money.
Here’s everything you need to know about Maina and his corruption charges.
Who is Maina?
Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina is a Former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Task Scheme, established by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010. Maina was made head of the reformed task force team to help fix the pension sector of the country.
Prior to this appointment, the civil servant from Biu, Borno state was a Senior Administrator in Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Immigration and Prison Pensions Office.
Maina vs EFCC
In 2013, Maina was sacked by the then president, Goodluck Jonathan for his involvement in fraudulent activities and for the mismanagement of pension funds.
There were claims by the Senate that he embezzled two billion naira ($5.6 million, 4.8 million euros) as at then. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, came into the picture and attempted to arrest him, however, the former pension boss, rather than submitting to the EFCC, fled abroad.
In 2015, the EFCC declared him wanted for absconding and he became a fugitive-offender.
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Reinstatement into office
In 2016, Maina managed to return to the country. He announced that the Senate had cleared him of another N195B theft and then disappeared, again, into thin air.
To the surprise of many Nigerians, despite the fact that, the civil servant was under investigation for corrupt practices, on the black-list of EFCC, and an Interpol arrest warrant was issued, he was reinstated and given double promotion by Buhari administration in September, 2017.
The confirmation came in a statement issued by the Press Secretary to the minister, Mr Ehisienmen Osaigbov. This action by the president received serious backlash from the public and it followed a number of attacks and counter attacks which ultimately made his reinstatement short-lived.
He was again relieved of his duties by President Buhari. His sack was announced in a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president in October 2017.
Maina, who had perfected his disappearance skill, once again went into hiding for almost a year.
Maina’s Arrest– EFCC 1-0 Maina
Mr Maina and his 20-year-old son, Faisal, were arrested by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) at the Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja, on September 30, 2019.
From this point, things started taking an unfortunate turn for the ex-pension boss.
The SSS handed them over to the EFCC for investigations and prosecution. EFCC successfully gained order from the court, after filing a motion, to remand Maina for 2 weeks and temporarily forfeit 23 properties linked him.
Maina’s Arrest– EFCC 2-1 Maina
His hearing was frequently stalled by a number of factors, some of which include ill health, infact, at a point he appeared in a wheelchair for his trial at the court.
Ultimately, in November 2019, the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, granted him bail with a bond of N1 billion to attend to his health. Maina had to provide two sureties who must be serving senators with landed properties in Asokoro District of Abuja, and have N500 million.
While Maina regained his freedom, the EFCC continued investigations and discovered that he used his sister’s name to open a secret bank account (which he actually operated himself) through which funds were transferred. The commission also discovered another bank account and several properties in the name of Faisal, his son.
The beginning of the end
The EFCC gathered more evidences and witnesses against Maina this year for the trial. However, Maina persistently absented himself from trial after he was released on bail.
Maina jumped bail again for the umpteen time, went into hiding in September, and subsequently left the country.
This action made situations worse for the civil servant.
Senator Ali Ndume withdrew as his surety after spending some days in prison because he couldn’t produced Maina.
Adeola Adedipe, his lawyer also applied to quit the case and withdrew from representing him.
In December, 2020 he was re-arrested by combination of operatives of intelligence service in Niger and anti-corruption agents in Nigeria, extradited, and remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center pending the conclusion of his trial.
Nine days after his re-arrest, the ex-pension officer collapsed in court during the hearing of his case.