Alleged N2b fraud: EFCC gets court’s nod to detain Maina, son

Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor and Northern Operation

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday said it had secured an order of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Bwari, to detain former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina and his son, Faisal, in its custody pending the conclusion of investigation  against them.

A statement by the anti-graft’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The order, which was given on October 7, 2019, following an ex parte application by the anti-graft agency, empowers the commission to remand the defendants in its custody for an initial period of 14 days.

“The court, however, noted that the order is ‘subject to be reviewed, if necessary’.

“Maina and his son were arrested at an Abuja Hotel by the Department of State Services, following a request by the commission.

“They were subsequently handed to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution on  allegations of fraud and money laundering.”

Read Also: How court aided Maina’s arrest

Also, for pulling a gun on security agents who came to arrest his father, Faisal has been handed over to the police for investigation.

The 20-year-old tried to prevent his father from being arrested at Pennsylvania Avenue Hotel, Utako, Abuja, last week.

But while Faisal has a date with the police, his father yesterday underwent what a source described as “marathon interrogation”.

The ex-pension boss is expected to justify how he came about 40 assets and thousands of transactions in banks linked with him.

Detectives also discovered that Maina actually used the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of his relations, including sisters, to open some fictitious accounts.

There were indications that all his accounts might be frozen by the EFCC.

According to a source, who spoke in confidence, Maina has opened up in detention on his activities.

The source said: “Maina and his son have been in custody in the last one week. But we have decided to refer his son to the Nigeria Police for investigation for illegal possession of firearms and attempted murder of security operatives.

“If any prima facie case is established, Faisal Maina will face trial accordingly. But he aided his father to resist arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) with a pistol. It is left to the police to look at his conduct in line with the law of the land.”

On the fate of Maina, the source added: “The interrogation of Maina continued for hours yesterday (Tuesday) and he has made useful statement. So far, we have traced over 40 assets to him and we are verifying all the documents.

“Thousands of transactions have been linked with him. We have also picked him up on how he came up with fictitious accounts, including the use of BVN of his relatives, like his sisters, for these accounts.”

“We will certainly take measures to freeze his accounts to enable our detectives conduct a good profiling of him. We will soon release some details of what he admitted in the course of interrogation.”

DSS Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunnaya, last Wednesday, said the service recovered some items from the suspects after their arrest in Abuja.

He said: “Maina was arrested in company of his 20-year-old son, Faisal Abdulrasheed Maina, who unsuccessfully tried to resist arrest.

“The lad even pulled a pistol against the security agents involved in the operation. He was, however, disarmed and arrested. He is a final year student at the Canadian University of Dubai where he is studying Telecoms Engineering.

“Items recovered from the suspects include a pistol with live ammunition, a bulletproof Range Rover SUV, a BMW saloon car, foreign currencies, a Phantom 7 drone and sensitive documents.”