20171025

How True? Maina Gets SSS Protection Despite Being Wanted For Fraud

Despite being on the run after being declared 'wanted' by the EFCC for alleged corruption, the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform, Abdulrasheed Maina, was provided with federal security cover?

According to Premium Times investigation, for months Maina received protection from operatives of the Police and the State Security Service, SSS. The SSS also provided an accommodation for him.

Mr. Maina is currently at large and did not report to duties on Monday at the Ministry of Interior where he was recently posted to.

Spokesperson of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren said the agency was intensifying its search for the fugitive.

The fresh search was triggered by a PT report on Friday detailing how the former pension boss, who fled Nigeria in 2013, sneaked back and was reinstated into the civil service, and promoted.

The story sparked outrage amongst Nigerians and the civil society who viewed the case as a litmus test for the anti-corruption effort the Buhari administration.

On Monday, President Buhari ordered for immediate disengagement of Maina and demanded a report of the circumstances leading to his reinstatement from Head of Service. The report has been turned in.

SSS, Police involvement 
PT learnt that all the while, Maina was being provided guards by SSS. A safe house in Maitama, said to belong to the SSS, was also provided for his use. SSS does not have a known spokesperson to respond to this story.

PT phoned the director general of the SSS, Lawal Daura, and service’s director of operations, identified as Mr. Bassey, but both officials did not respond to multiple calls.

It was discovered that  Maina’s controversial $2m house in Jabi, Abuja, was guarded by the police.

A PT reporter who saw an armed police guard at the property on Monday, confirmed that the operative was posted there from the Maitama police division.

The FCT Police spokesperson, Anjuguri Manzah, said he was not aware of the posting. He promised to find out and get back to this newspaper. He was yet to do so.

Mouthwatering offer 
Meanwhile, PT has obtained more details about how Mr. Maina purchased the Jabi property.

As exclusively reported two years ago, Maina used bankers and other intermediaries to launder most of the money he allegedly embezzled from the pension funds in his care.

The process of purchasing the Jabi Abuja  home, followed a similar pattern.

Investigators familiar with the deal said Maina, who paid for the house in cash, made a mouth-watering offer to the first owner, one Adamu Modibbo, a former managing director of Sigma Pension.
The property was not in the market so  Maina, acting through a middleman, approached Mr. Modibbo with an enticing offer.

Mr. Modibbo initially resisted the proposal to sell the house, where he was living with his family, but was given what an official called an “irresistible offer”.

Officials said both the buyer and the seller contravened provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act by transacting in cash, given the amount involved.

Investigators, who traced the land documents at the Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS, found that the title documents were collected by an official of Guarantee Trust Bank. Investigators later found that the man had resigned his post from the bank and disappeared.

Contacted for comments, Modibbo said he would not want to make any comment. He said he would rather “allow EFCC to get to the root of the matter”.

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