The House of Representatives on Thursday gave the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, seven days to produce a report of his investigation into how letters initiating the recall of the former Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, emanated from his office.
An ad hoc committee of the House is probing the circumstances surrounding the reinstatement of Maina after he had been dismissed from service in 2013 and later declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for alleged pension fraud.
The committee, which is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kano State, Mr. Aliyu Madaki, also summoned the Special Adviser to the AGF, Mr. Kehinde Ogini, to appear before it.
It was gathered that the committee was working on a report which indicated that the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the Ministry of Interior, acted on directives from Malami’s office to conclude the recall of Maina into the service on September 28, 2017.
But, having denied that he personally authored any of the letters on Maina’s recall, the committee asked what actions he took to find out how letters bearing his seal left his office without his knowledge.
In his response, the AGF said he had directed the Permanent Secretary in his ministry to set up a committee to investigate the matter.
He said, “The letter dated October 5 was never signed by me. Maina’s case, up to that point, was still work in progress and I wrote KIV on it.
“Again, the letter of February 21 could not have emanated from my office because it did not follow procedure. The matter is under investigation.”
In its reaction to the AGF’s statement, the committee noted that Malami’s internal investigation into the letters and the report of the probe would resolve many issues.
Madaki, who spoke on behalf of the committee, said, “Your report should get to us within one week. Whatever you are doing, complete it within one week and report back to us.”
Malami had claimed that his special adviser and line officers in the ministry had kept writing for his approval to reinstate Maina.
He added that he never gave a final approval at any point.
In addition to its request for the report of the investigation, the committee summoned Ogini and all the administrative officers in the AGF’s office to explain their roles in Maina’s illegal recall.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr. Mohammed Babandede, told the committee that Maina had three passports.
He said the passports were an official passport, a standard Nigerian passport and an American passport.
He also revealed that Maina was both a Nigerian and an American citizen.
Babandede told the panel that on September 2, 2013, Maina was prevented from travelling through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, because he was on the wanted list of the EFCC.
He added that the EFCC later wrote the service on December 1, 2015, removing Maina’s name from the list.
“We now have him on our watch list after Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari) directed recently that he should be dismissed from service.
“But since 2013, our system has not shown that Maina travelled through any of our airports.”
He, however, admitted that it was possible that Maina used unmanned border posts, which was “illegal and an offence.”
The CG’s revelation made the committee to seek explanation from the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.