Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered a temporary forfeiture of 23 properties linked to a former chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on a motion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC had urged the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the properties linked to Maina; it also sought an order of the court to publish an advertorial on the properties in a national daily to enable anyone who has any reason why they should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government come forward with proof.
The EFCC supported its motion with a 30-paragraph affidavit that it brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Money Laundering Act.
Ruling on the motion, Mrs. Ogunbanjo-Giwa granted the prayers of the anti-graft agency. She directed the applicant to publish the order in a national newspaper to enable interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited to government.
She also ordered the EFCC to return to the court on November 19 for the mentioning of the case.
On the list are eight landed properties in Abuja, another eight in Kaduna State, three in Borno and one each in Kano and Sokoto states.
Some of the seized properties include Plot MFCT/12/AMAC/KR/ME19 Agis FCT 48215 (MISC 6614), located in Karu, FCT, acquired in his mother’s name; Plot 18, Road F, Malali North, East Residential Layout, Kaduna State, acquired in late father’s name in 2017; Flat 42C, SMC Quarters, Unguwan Dosa, Kaduna State, acquired in a suspected pseudonym; Plot 962, Gwarimpa 1 district, Cadastral zone: C02, covered by C of O lafew-fe282-63asv -c36 eu- Abuja, acquired in son’s name.
Plot 53B, SMC Quarters, Unguwan Dosa; Plot 016, comprising three-bedroom semi-detached bungalow- acquired in wife’s name; Duplex located at No.16A, Katuru Road, Kaduna State, acquired in son’s name; a duplex at no 21, 52 Crescent Kubwa, Phase IV Estate, FCT, Abuja, acquired in his own name; Farm at Dorawa, Karshi Development Area, Karu LGA, Nasarawa State, in his son’s name; and Plot MF-27 A – New Pasali Layout, Kuje, acquired in his own name.
Besides the landed properties, EFCC told the court that it’s investigation revealed also that Toyin Meseke facilitated part liquidation of Maina’s fixed deposit of N185 million, which the anti-graft agency alleged was transferred to Nural Wax Bureau De Change on July 7, 2015, for the purchase of US dollars on behalf of Maina.
Abubakar, who moved the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1154/2019, informed the court that the same amount was delivered to Mairo Bashir, a relationship of Maina who worked with United Bank for Africa (UBA), Maitama branch, Abuja.
The motion for forfeiture dated September 27, 2019, but filed on September 30, was brought pursuant to sections 17 (1) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006.
The EFCC further stated that N26.5m was also paid to Federal Housing Authority from Kongolo Dynamics Ltd, while a balance of N4m was paid to Alhaji Tijani Yusuf, between October 20, 2008, and November 11, 2008, for the property located at 12, 11th Road, Kado Estate, Abuja, belonging to Addurasheed Maina.
It added that Cluster Logistics Ltd, a company owned by Maina, also received N152m from the Department of State Security (DSS) in the name of DSS pension biometric, between 2011 and 2012.
The EFCC alleged that the said sums were used in the acquisition of assets and properties in different parts of the country and abroad.
It stated that Maina’s known legitimate source of income was not commensurate with the humongous funds.
EFCC stated that Maina owned and operated several accounts “with Fidelity Bank Plc in the name of Cluster Logistics Ltd, Drew and Construction Ltd and Kongolo Dynamics Clearing Ltd, Dr. Abdullahi Faizar and Nafisalu Aliyu Yeldu.
The listed accounts had cummulative turnover of N2.7 billion, of which 95 per cent of the deposit into the fraudulent accounts were car deposits made by the bankers in their own names and other fictitious names.”
The commission told the court that Maina opened and fictitiously operated all the accounts with the active connivance of some staff of the bank.
The commission alleged that Maina and his associates siphoned funds through the creation of a civil service biometric project.
For instance, EFCC stated that, in the course of its investigation, Mr. Osarenkhoe Afe disclosed that Maina instructed him to work with Fredrick Hamilton Ltd in creating the civil service biometric scheme, although the bidding for the project was not advertised.
That Afe confessed that N14.5m paid to Innovative Solution Ltd was remitted to his company Fredrick Hamilton Ltd and it was shared between himself, Maina and two directors in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
In addition, the EFCC stated that Afe disclosed that while he bidded the sun of N50m for extension of the biometric contract, he was instructed by Maina to inflate it to N130.5m, which they did. According to the EFCC deposition, another witness, Salami Karim Adesokan, claimed that the sum of N147.7m was fraudulently paid through various banks from the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation to three different companies, Fatidek Ventures, Jolance and Oblando Nigeria Ltd for a fictitious biometric contract.
Adesokan added that the monies were collected in cash and handed over to Maina through his confidential secretary, Anne Igwe.
The commission further stated that it was also discovered that one Ahmed Mazangari, a friend of Maina’s relative, Khalid Biu, was involved in the process of computerising the pension payroll by inserting 11 fake pensioners, and was used by Maina to receive N153m for non-existent biometric contract and the money was withdrawn and handed over to Maina in cash through Biu after it was converted to dollars.