By Taiye Agbaje
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, convicted Abdulrasheed Maina, Chairman, defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), and sentenced him to 8 years imprisonment.
Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had proven the essential ingredients of all the 12 counts preferred against Maina beyond reasonable doubt in the money laundering suit.
Delivering the judgment, the judge sentenced the ex-pension boss to three years in count one, five years in count two, eight years in count three, eight years in count four, two years in count five, five years in count six, and eight years in count seven.
Abang, who also sentenced Maina to three years in count eight, five years in count nine, eight years in count 10, three years in count 11 and three years in count 12, ordered that the terms of imprisonment shall run concurrently beginning from Oct. 25, 2019, being the date he was arraigned.
Justice Abang said Maina, who was the chairman of the pension team at the time pension money was stolen, was found guilty in all the counts and was accordingly convicted.
“In my view, it is pensioners’ funds the 1st defendant (Maina) stole, and some of the pensioners died out of frustration,” he said.
He said the anti-corruption agency had been able to establish that Maina opened two anonymous accounts in United Bank of Africa (UBA) and five accounts in Fidelity Bank Plc to perpetrate his unlawful act.
Abang noted that the EFCC witness who testified in the course of the case pointed out that Maina, whose salary as a civil servant was N256, 000, couldn’t have had such money running into billions in his accounts even if he saved all his salaries in his 35 years in service, stating “that the money formed part of unlawful activities to which the 1st defendant reasonably ought to have known.”
He said the EFCC was able to nail Maina, using his sister-in-law, who is a UBA staff; his blood sister, a civil servant and younger brother, who was a Fidelity Bank staff, among the prosecution witnesses.
The judge said that Maina could not defend himself on the evidence given by the fifth prosecution witness that he (Maina) gave him (witness) about 1.4 million dollars in cash to purchase a property valued at N150 million located at Life Camp, Abuja.