Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Nigeria’s ex-pension boss Maina found guilty of money laundering charges

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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.

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.

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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.

While further delivering his judgement, Justice Abang 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

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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.

Maina And Son’s Trial 

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A month ago, the court jailed Maina’s son, Faisal, after finding him guilty on three counts of money laundering involving N58.1million in public funds.

Maina was tried alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Limited over 12 charges bordering on money laundering of over N1billion, among other offences.

He had jumped bail twice in the course of his trial and was recently arrested in Niamey, Niger Republic, where he had fled.

Upon his rearrest, he returned to court where the court ordered that he be returned to the custody of the correctional centre in Kuje until his trial was concluded.

With the development, his lawyer, Francis Oronsaye, withdrew from the case while his new lawyer, Anayo Adibe, filed another bail application.

However, in a ruling on February 28, Justice Abang refused to grant the application on the grounds that it was without merit and that Maina failed to place sufficient materials before the court to convince it that he deserved another bail.

He held that Maina did not deserve to be admitted to bail again after violating the conditions of the bail granted him earlier and later adjourned the matter.

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