The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday found Abdulrasheed Maina, the former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reformed Task Team guilty of money laundering.
While further delivering his judgement, Justice Abang found Maina guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in two banks – Fidelity bank and another bank – by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.
These accounts had cash deposits of N300million, N500million, and N1.5billion.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC prosecuted Maina, alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd on a 12-count charge of operating fictitious bank accounts, corruption, and money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.
The testimonies against Maina in November 2020, continued with that of the ninth prosecution witness, (PW9), Rouqayyah Ibrahim, a principal investigation officer with the EFCC in Anti Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing (AML CFT) unit of the Commission and member, Pension Fraud Team, who stated that he knew Maina and Input Property Investment Ltd, following the invitation of the EFCC in 2010, to join in the pension verification exercise.
The PW9 revealed that Maina as chairman, PRTT was deeply involved in stealing pension funds. One of the things discovered was the payment of N133 million for a non-existing contract to Xanjhi Technology, a company he appointed to computerize the pension payroll.
The money was withdrawn in cash, converted to dollars and handed over to Khalid Biu (PW5), a staff of Fidelity Bank and handed over to Maina’s secretary, Ann Igwe Oluchi, who is now standing trial at FCT High Court Gwagwalada. Xanjhi Technology and its owner, Ahmed Mazangari are also standing trial for inserting about 15 fake persons into the pension payroll which they were engaged to computerize.
According to the witness, “We also discovered that Frederick Hamilton Ltd, owned by Osa Afe, presently standing trial with Steven Oransanya who received payment for a non-existing biometric contract handed over about N250 million to Maina.
“Our investigation further revealed the existence of six accounts with Fidelity Bank, out of the six, five were linked to Abdurrasheed Maina. We discovered that there was nowhere in the accounts opening packages of these accounts where
the name, birthday or signatures of Abdurrasheed Maina appeared. These accounts are: Nafisatu Aliyu Yeldu (PW4) Drew Construction, also an account Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Services Ltd, Cluster Logistics Ltd, Fatima Aliyu, he also had a personal account in his own name with Fidelity Bank, and also in the name of Dr. Abdullahi Faizal.
“For example, Abdulrasheed Maina’s sister’s account belongs to Nafisatu Aliyu Yeldu. It also contains her passport and a photograph of her. On the surface, it looks like the account belonged to her, but when we invited her to come in for an examination, we discovered that she had no knowledge of the account, despite the fact that it contained her name and children but not her signature.
She told us that Toyin Meseke (PW2), a Fidelity Bank employee, sought her PHCN (power utility) bill at one time, although she wasn’t sure what he wanted it for, and that it was one of the documents used to open the account.
She further stated that when she began receiving notifications, she phoned Toyin Meseke, who promised to take care of the problem. ” According to the witness, Yeldu’s account had a turnover of about N300 million.
“In the case of Drew Construction, it was the name of his other sister, Fatima Abdullahi Aliyu. When she was confronted, it showed that she had no knowledge of the account, even though it bore her name and other similar information that belonged to her. The turnover was about N55 million all from cash deposits within a few months…”
In a judgement being delivered by Justice Okon Abang, the court held that the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has produced essential evidence through witnesses to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Maina is guilty of money laundering in the sum of N171,099,000.
The court added that the defendant (Maina), called only one witness to his defense when he had the opportunity to call as many as he could.
The court held that Maina stole monies meant for pensioners as he could not prove where he got them from.
Justice Abang also held that through Maina’s service as a civil servant, his salary and emoluments will not amount to the monies in these accounts.
The court also found Maina guilty for the purchase of a property in Abuja paid in cash in the sum of $1.4million, which is above the statutory threshold of N5million and without passing through a financial institution, describing it as a criminal offense.