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JUST IN: Court finds alleged pension thief, Maina, guilty



Security agents found $1.7m cash in Maina’s Niger Republic home

The former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, has been found guilty of money laundering.

This sentence was read on Monday by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Justice Abang further ruled that the prosecutor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), produced essential evidence through witnesses.

These witnesses, upon cross-examinations, proved beyond reasonable doubt that Maina was 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 evidence in chief of the witness did not help the defendant as they did not relate to the charges against the defendants, the court noted.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s pension fund hits N12.4tr – PenCom

Also, the Justice found Maina guilty of concealing his true identity as a signatory to accounts opened in two banks – UBA and Fidelity bank – by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.

These accounts had cash deposits of N300million, N500million, and N1.5billion, according to the judgement.

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday sentenced the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to 61 years imprisonment for money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Maina on a 12-count charge of money laundering.

In his judgment, Justice Abang held that the commission had proven the essential ingredients of the charges preferred against the convict.

He sentenced the ex-pension boss to three years on count one, five years on count two, eight years on count three, eight years on count four, two years on count five, five years on count six, and eight years on count seven.

The judge, who also sentenced Maina to three years on count eight, five years on count nine, eight years on count 10, three years on count 11, and three years on count 12, ordered that the sentences would run concurrently beginning from October 25, 2019 when the convict was arraigned.

He said: “In my view, it is pensioners’ funds the 1st defendant (Maina) stole, and some of the pensioners died out of frustration.”

The judge stressed that the commission had been able to establish that Maina opened two anonymous accounts in the United Bank of Africa (UBA) and five accounts in Fidelity Bank Plc to perpetuate his unlawful act.

He said the EFCC was able to nail Maina, using his sister-in-law, who is a staff of UBA, his blood sister, a civil servant, and younger brother, who was a Fidelity Bank staff, among the prosecution witnesses.

The judge said the convict could not defend himself on the evidence given by the fifth prosecution witness that he gave him (witness) about $1.4 million in cash to purchase a property valued at N150 million at Life Camp in Abuja.

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