The embattled former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, Abulrasheed Maina, continued his defense on Tuesday in his ongoing money laundering trial.
Maina is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His first witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, who was a management consultant to PRTT, told Justice Okong Abang on Tuesday that despite the alleged mobilization of the EFCC against Maina, the task team under his supervision had saved the country about 282-billion-naira in cash.
Ihuoma said despite a 2011 Senate report indicting Maina for embezzlement, the former pension boss helped the country to recover diverted funds.
“The Task Team told the Economic Management Team of then President Goodluck Jonathan, that it saved 282-billion-naira cash which was warehoused at the CBN…. as well as an Interim forfeiture of 222 choice properties of pension thieves valued at 1.63 trillion naira…
“In 2 November 2011, the Senate, having noted the achievement of the Pension Reform Task Team in 11 months, which included savings and recovery of 118 billion naira, passed a resolution and established a joint committee – Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Committee on State and Local Government Administration; the two were chaired by Senators Alocius Ettu and Kabiru Gaya…they were mandated to assist the Government through legislative instrument to uncover monumental fraud uncovered by the Task Team.
“It appeared to the TaskTeam that it was appearing before a hostile committee; however, the Senate Committee did lay before the House a report; part of its recommendation included his prosecution by the Nigerian Police, the EFCC , for embezzlement of 195 billion naira between 2005 and 2010 even when the TaskTeam was not in existence then,” he added.
On his part, Justice Abang adjourned the matter to March 4 for the witness to continue his testimony.
Recall that the trial judge had dismissed Maina’s second bail application on the grounds that he jumped his first bail and hence could no longer be trusted with a second one, after fleeing to Niger Republic.