Fresh facts have emerged as to why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the immediate disengagement of the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina from the civil service, DAILY TRUST Reports.
President Buhari, in a memo to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, equally demanded a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.
Presidential spokesman Mr Femi Adesina, who disclosed these facts in a statement yesterday, said the report should be submitted to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, before the close of work.
A source in the presidency said President Buhari directed Maina’s disengagement for absconding from the service and causing an embarrassment to the government.
“In issuing the directive that Maina should be immediately disengaged from service, Mr. President acted on a new set of facts. One, for leaving the service without permission;he ran away from the country. And two, for the embarrassment he has brought to the government,” he said.
The source, however, emphasised that Maina’s reinstatement was done without recourse to the president.
Oyo-Ita visits Villa, exonerates self
The Head of Service waslast night at the Office of the Chief of Staff as directed by the president. She was in Calabar for the burial of her elder sister when the president’s directive was issued.
Oyo-Ita, who was accompanied to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja by two aides, arrived the Office of the Chief of Staff at exactly 6:40pm.
Attired in a multi-colour ankara, she was sighted clutching some files with which she went into the meeting with the Chief of Staff.
She was driven out of the Presidential Villa at exactly 7:15pm after what an official described as “a brief but crucial grilling session.”
As of 8:00pm yesterday, the Chief of Staff was still inside his office.
Oyo-Ita had earlier exonerated herself from the reinstatement of the former PRTT chairman.
The Assistant Director, Media Relations in the OHOCSF, Mohammed Manga said “The attention of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has been drawn to several media reports that the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has approved the re-instatement into the Federal Civil Service of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina and his subsequent posting to the Ministry of Interior.
“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) wishes to inform the public that the re-instatement and posting of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina never emanated from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. Consequently, the purported re-instatement and posting by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is totally erroneous and misleading,” Manga said.
The Minister of Interior Abdulrahman Dambazau had in a statement on Sunday explained that Maina was recalled through the Office of the Head of Service.
Buhari may query Malami, Dambazau
There are indications that President Buhari may summon the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, over the recall and posting of Maina.
It was gathered that the report which Mrs Oyo-Ita submitted yesterday to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, had provided some clues warranting other explanations by Malami and Dambazau.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a text message to our correspondent last night, only stated that Oyo-Ita’s report was being studied.
“I have confirmation that the head of service of the federation, Mrs Oyo-Ita, has brought the report on the re-engagement of Abdulrasheed Maina as directed by the president. This is being studied as other reports are being awaited,” he said.
Shehu did not specify those to provide “other reports” but a source hinted that “for now, the AGF and the interior minister need to explain their own sides of the story to the president. Any other official linked to the thing will also be invited for explanations.”
‘AGF facilitated Maina’s reinstatement’
A top presidency source revealed that the AGF prevailed on the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to reinstate Maina.
The source, who asked not to be named, told our correspondent that the Attorney-General relied on a Federal High Court injunction which restrained Maina’s arrest in 2013.
According to him, “It is the responsibility of the Attorney-General to prevail on any agency of government to obey court orders.”
Sources in the Head of Service of the Federation’s office also told Daily Trust last night that Mrs. Oyo-Ita assured her staff that she had absolutely nothing to do with either the recall or reposting of Maina. The sources said much pressure was brought to bear on the Head of Service by “top officials of the Presidency, the Ministry of Justice and the Interior Ministry” to recall and repost Maina but that she never succumbed to the pressure.
The reason for the pressure, the source said, is to help Maina to launder his public service record because he intends to contest for Governor of his home state of Borno in 2019. The sources said the plan was for Maina to be recalled and reposted, after which he will resign from the civil service after a few weeks, join the ruling APC and begin his quest for the governorship.
When contacted, the AGF’s spokesman, Othman Salihu Isah, said he was not aware of the letter of reinstatement, explaining that he had been out of Abuja.
FCSC effected reinstatement
The FCSC approved the reinstatement of Maina, according to documents seen by Daily Trust.
One of the documents with reference number FC.4029.82/VOL.III/179 dated 18 September, 2017, signed by one Mustapha L. Sulaiman and addressed to the HOCSF Mrs Oyo-Ita as well as Mr Maina conveyed the approval of his reinstatement after a meeting of the FCSC on August 16.
“The FCSC at its meeting held on Wednesday, 16th August, 2017 considered the letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the recommendations of the Senior Staff Committee (SSC) of the Ministry of Interior on the disciplinary case against Alhaji Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, Deputy Director (Administration), Salary Grade Level 16. The FCSC, therefore, approved the reinstatement of the Officer into the Service with effect from 21st February, 2013 (being the date he was earlier dismissed from Service). The FCSC also approved for the Officer to sit for the next promotion examination to the Post of Director (Administration), SGL. 17,” it stated.
EFCC seals Maina’s house
The spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wilson Uwujaren, said that Maina remains on the wanted list of the anti-graft agency. Sources told Daily Trust that the commission had submitted a request to the Ministry of Interior notifying it of the charges against Maina even before news of his disengagement circulated.
The EFCC also raided and sealed a house said to be owned by Maina on No. 10 Amisi Musa Street, Jabi, Abuja.
When reporters visited the house yesterday, sources said that EFCC operatives left the place ‘few minutes ago’ after marking it. The sources also hinted that another house alleged to be owned by Maina located on No. 12, Road 11, Kado Estate would also be sealed by the EFCC.
The EFCC had declared Maina wanted for offences bordering on Procurement Fraud and Obtaining by False Pretence.
Maina is allegedly complicit in the over N2bn Pensions Scam in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
Maina stayed away from office
The former PTFP chairman stayedaway from office yesterday, even though he resumed duty last week.
Our reporter who was at the ministry of interior up till closing time observed that there was apprehension among staff, as many of them refused to talk.
The secretary at the office of Director of Human Resources, where Maina was supposed to occupy, confirmed that he was not at his duty post, but declined further comment.
The ministry’s Director of Press, Willie Bassey, told our reporter that he would make no comment as the statement confirming the sack of the embattled ex-pension boss by President Muhammadu Buhari was already in the news.
In his reaction, the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Austin Alegeh (SAN) stated that the president has the powers to seek the disengagement of Maina through the proper process. He said the most important thing is how the directive is carried out.
“If the president believes that the man who was declared wanted by the EFCC cannot just be brought in through the backdoor, he has an overbearing right to do the correct thing,” he said.
Anti-corruption lawyer, Abeny Mohammed (SAN) said if the president has found Maina’s appointment irregular, and he is being investigated by the EFCC, he is right to order his removal. He added that even if Maina challenges the decision in court, he would not succeed.
He however charged the president to do more to bring members of the executive accused of corruption to book if he is to win public confidence on the anti-corruption war.
Ahmed Raji (SAN) said if the allegations border on gross misconduct or have weighty allegations, any senior civil servant can be removed without being given a hearing.
“The fact that the president has directed does not mean it will be done anyhow. It will still have to follow relevant rules. That is left for the bureaucrats to handle. They will look at the extant rules and follow the quickest means,” he said.
A law lecturer, Daniel Bwala, said the directive should be viewed within the context of the powers of the president and the civil service rules.
Culled from Daily Trust