Maina concealed N3bn illicitly sourced, says EFCC witness

Rouqayyah Ibrahim, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Force Team, concealed about N3 billion of unknown income illicitly sourced.

 

Led in evidence by Farouk Abdullah, prosecution counsel, Ibrahim — an investigative officer of the EFCC — said the commission carried out a “concealed income analysis to determine if the defendant and his associated companies had concealed incomes that were not accounted for”.

“We asked him to fill an asset declaration form of the EFCC which revealed his assets and liabilities,” she said.

“Being a civil servant, we also relied on his payslips to determine the genuine source of his income.


“Regarding all the companies linked to him, we wrote to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to be able to establish if at all the companies were involved in any business.

“Our finding revealed that those companies were not involved in any business.”

The witness said FIRS revealed that no taxes were paid by the companies and no statement of affairs was filed at the CAC.

“Regarding his known income, we discovered that his last payment which was paid in February 2013 was N256,000,” Ibrahim said.

“Getting N256,000 per month for 35 years as a civil servant without spending a single kobo, he would have received over N105 million.

“We compared that with our concealed income and net worth analysis and discovered that he has about N3 billion of unknown income from illegitimate source.”

She also told the court that funds were being sent to the defendant even while he had absconded to Dubai.

Earlier at the court session, the court refused an application by Anayo Adibe, Maina’s new lawyer, for an extension of time.

Adibe told the court that he was yet to familiarise himself with the matter and that he has no record of proceedings.

“As we speak, we don’t even have a copy of the charge sheet,” he said.

“We did also apply to the counsel who withdrew his appearance to oblige us with the copy of the charge sheet as well as the list of documents.

“My humble application to this honourable court is that the first defendant be accorded with his constitutional right to be represented by a counsel of his choice and that adequate time be accorded to him.”

Responding to the application, the prosecution counsel urged the court to discountenance the defendant’s application.

“They are aware of the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution as it relates to the rights of the defendant,” he said.

“The court has safeguarded his rights. We invite the court to look at proceedings from inception to date. He has been given all the rights and facilities that should be made available to him.

“Change of counsel is a right of the defendant but this right should not truncate the due administration of criminal justice regime.”

Ruling on the application, Okon Abang, the presiding judge, said: “The issues in court has to be properly put in place without sentiments.”

“The first defendant is not coming into the case for the first time. The issue of fair hearing under section 36 of the constitution only relates to where a defendant is being brought to court for the first time.”

Abang said it is the duty of the previous counsel to the defendant to hand over the case file with all the necessary information to the new counsel

“And if Joe Gadzama (former counsel) fails, the new counsel knows what to do,” the judge said.

“An administrative letter to the registrar cannot serve as a stay of proceeding. The new counsel cannot drag us into his own internal affairs.

“If the counsel needs CTC (Certified True Copy), he will get it even though the court is a busy court.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Maina on a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.

A judge had ordered Maina’s arrest following his refusal to appear in court after he went into hiding in September.

Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south, who stood as his surety was remanded in prison custody, but was granted bail on the grounds that he has a record of “good behaviour”.

Maina was, however, extradited to Nigeria on December 4, after he was arrested in Niger Republic.

 

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