“ In a place where tradition is lacking, a striking example becomes relevant”
………….. Leon Trotsky
As much as we at the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL fully identify with the current administration rare and audacious commitment to vigorously prosecute anti-corruption campaign, we are quick to point out that President Muhammadu Buhari need to bring culprits of corrupt practices to effective justice, not just mere negotiations to recover stolen public funds. The President and his team need to step up the ante by making stigmatizing examples of culprits of corrupt and sharp conducts through diligent investigations, thorough prosecution, confiscation of properties and real time convictions in the court of law. This will not only serve as deterrent, but also a striking stigma against corruption, signaling the absolute dedication of government to vanquish corruption.
Without any equivocation, the unbridled looting of pensions funds, attendant sack, criminal conspiratorial reinstatement and correct but embarrassing re-sacking of the former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina is one major corruption case that should not treated with kids’ glove.
BEYOND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY INVESTIGATION OF MAINAGATE
In recent time, the media has been awashed with contradictory, confusing and often laughable assertions on the unpardonable stories of sleaze and corruption engulfing the seemingly “invincible” former Chairman of Presidential Task Force on Pensions Funds, Abdulrasheed Maina. Ironically, there has been curious passing round of the bucks. One of such silly infamies claims that the Federal Government is hampered to take up Maina case because the National Assembly is already investigating the matter. This smacked like a grand scheme to find soft landing for all those that are obviously indictable for this national disgrace, we are certain that a thorough forensic investigation would consume many persons. The other comical claim is that Maina has since disappeared from Nigeria and cannot be brought to book. That. some powerful allies seem to be hiding the above the law crook is an alluring conclusion one would deduce.
As of today, the Nigeria Senate has conducted its investigation into the matter but with a veil of secrecy. An ad-hoc Committee of the Senate set up to investigate the controversial reinstatement and the embarrassing promotion of Maina in the civil service of the Federal Government invited the Attorney General, Abubarkar Malami (SAN) and the Minister for Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau but the session were held in camera in the office the Committee Chairman. We strongly believe openness and transparency to the media and the general public is integral part of the campaign against corruption.
However, the House of Representatives is reported to have slated the commencement of its ad-hoc Committee for Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017. It promised that the session on Maina’s ill-handling of pensions funds would be broadcast live by Nigeria Television Authority. The Committee also invited Abdulrahman Danbazau, the Head of Service to the Federation, Mrs. Winfred Oyo-Ita, the acting Chaiman of EFCC , Ibrahim Magu and Chairman of ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owosanoye assuring Nigerians that Maina would come out of hiding to face the Committee.
CACOL therefore salutes the courage of the House of Representatives in slating the Committee with live coverage. We hope that would be opportunities for the general public to also interrogate this process. It is a trite truism that anti-corruption war goes smoother with openness, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. We condemn any move to shroud this critical investigation with any garb of conspiratorial secrecy – Nigerians have the right to know all details. We also call on relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that there is no back door settlement with Maina no matter the quantum of information he revealed against his co-travellers in crime. He, along with others must be made to face the full wrath of the law – when you commit the crime, you do the time.
The investigating Committee and all other anti-corruption agencies must not only investigate all the Government’s ministries and officials responsible for the mid-night smuggling of Maina back into the public service, his promotion but also the office of the Accountant General and Auditor General must explain how they paid Maina N21Million salary arrears for a period when the judgment of a competent court of law debar him from the civil service.
The entire civilized world is watching on what would be the outcome of this case, and thus must not be handled lightly. It is our well considered view that justice must be manifestly done, we know that heaven shall not fall. All public funds must be accounted for and infractions duly punished.