Former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, has alleged that a whopping N5.32 billion was being stolen monthly two offices, according to a report by The Tribune.
Maina who is wanted by security operatives further revealed that those he stopped from stealing the country’s money are after him.
Maina said his media trial and framed-up allegations were part of efforts by ‘pension thieves’ to stop him from exposing them, which was why he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to thoroughly investigate pending pension petitions, especially as Senator Kabiru Gaya said in an interview, that the N195 billion which he (Maina) was accused of stealing was in the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Speaking through his aide, Olajide Fashikun, in Kaduna, on Tuesday, Maina, who has been on the run, said it was imperative that presidential investigation expose the real pension thieves, some of whom, he alleged, were highly placed public office-holders, adding that such would bring respite to starving pensioners.
According to him: “In the two places PRTT worked, a leakage of N5.32 billion was stopped per month. This is what civil servants steal monthly in the two offices out of the 99 pension offices in the country. 43 persons were arrested and handed over to the EFCC for prosecution while 222 houses were seized from them.
“As soon as Maina was driven to exile before the coming of the PTAD, N35 billion was stolen in the office (names withheld). The ICPC did not come out with the report. How come nobody is talking about these monies? Fashikun asked.
“In the current media trial where all manners of stories have been published, there has been a lot of distortion of facts and sometimes outright blackmail, all in an attempt to paint the PRTT boss black like Lucifer.”
“After the biometric exercise, there were 71,000 genuine workers in the pension office (names withheld) who needed to be paid N826 million, unlike N5.3 billion appropriated for them annually. They were pocketing N4.2 billion yearly. They devised several ingenious ways to pull these cash out. They siphoned off an average of N300 million daily, Monday to Friday. There are bank alerts to substantiate these assertions.
“There is a particular person who has 69 cloned versions of his name on the pay roll. Bank officials were in cohort. Names of dead pensioners were ‘exhumed’ from the dead and paid pension. Accounts were created with fictitious names.
“The agents who do the multiple collection of these monies from banks get five per cent of the volume collected. One of the folks caught then was paid via three accounts in June 2011 the sums of N7,783,891.68, N17,452,910.87 and N17,293,888.44. He got five per cent for pulling the cash. He confessed when the EFCC officials arrested him.”
Speaking further, Maina’s aide said: “There has been a lot of deliberate cover in a well-written script to give Maina a bad name. Some of those who worked in the PRTT do kabu-kabu to augment their survival. They were severely starved of funds, Maina’s PRTT was a clog in the wheel of so many who were looting the pensioners’ funds.
“Maina’s PRTT was brought in to sanitise a very corrupt pension system. It was the success of his pension system in the Ministry of Interior that brought him to the PRTT. Emerging evidence has shown that Maina is just a victim of corruption fighting back.
“The then Senate Committee, in a bid to crucify Maina, did the hatchet job, when they told Nigerians that he stole N195 billion. Meanwhile, on April 13, 2016, former Kano State governor, Senator Kabiru Gaya, told The Sun newspaper in an interview that that money was never missing. So, why is he being tried for the money that is now confirmed not missing? According to the structure of the task force, Maina like none of them therein never had access to the pension fund and could never have taken one naira lest over N2 billion.
“Former Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during a Senate meeting, said Maina had no contact with funds and revealed how she froze the account where the monies recovered by Maina’s committee was kept and how she transferred the funds to the CBN. So, why will the EFCC continue to hound a man for an offence which they know he is innocent of? Maina was only the head of the team which comprised the EFCC, ICPC, DSS, NIA, office of Accountant General, Auditor General, Public Complaints Commission etc. He was the only civilian in the Task Team.
“Maina was just a victim of high power play of some powerful individuals in high places. So, for three years, Maina suffered ‘media trial,’ where he was found guilty several times on the pages of newspaper.”