How This 20 YEAR OLD & His Father 'STOLE' N100 BILLION Pensioners' Money, Gets 24 Years Imprisonment - OLAMORE
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How This 20 YEAR OLD & His Father ‘STOLE’ N100 BILLION Pensioners’ Money, Gets 24 Years Imprisonment

So in the news today, a Federal High Court in Abuja sentenced Faisal, son of the erstwhile chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, to 24 years imprisonment.

The judgment is seen as a landslide victory in President Buhari’s fight against corruption.

Faisal and his father were not only accused of defrauding the country of billions of naira but claims are that he did so in plain sight and under the protective watch of security agents as it was revealed during a probe into his fraudulent activities by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-graft agency found out that he had used the stolen funds to acquire over 200 properties, comprising of houses, transport businesses, properties, and hotels, scattered in choice locations across Nigeria, Dubai, London, South Africa, and the United States.

Court convicts Faisal of all three-count charges

In his judgment on Thursday, Justice Okon Abang, held that Faisal, who was sentenced in absentia, was guilty of all the three-count charges.

Abang who handed down a five-year jail term for count one bordering on money laundering offenses, sentenced Faisal to 14 years imprisonment on count two.

The judge, thereafter, sentenced Faisal to five years prison terms on count three which bordered on asset declaration offense.

Okon ruled that the prison terms would run concurrently reports The Guardian.

Justice Abang had fixed the matter for judgment after the then Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar, adopted the commission”s final written address and urged the court to convict Faisal in all the three counts leveled against him, “the prosecution having proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt.”

Faisal’s Counsel, A. A . Onoja, who did not file any final written address, had sought an adjournment on the grounds that he was not briefed on the development in the case.

The EFCC lawyer, however, opposed his plea for an adjournment, arguing that on March 17 when the case was adjourned, Anayo Adibe, who appeared for Faisal, did not apply to file any written address, even after the ruling was delivered, saying “four months since that day, the defense has not done anything.”

The judge, who dismissed the application for adjournment, held that the request was made in bad faith.

Faisal, who is being prosecuted along with his father, Maina, is standing a separate trial on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The defendant, who was arraigned by the EFCC on Oct. 25, 2019, was admitted to bail, on Nov. 26, 2019, in the sum of N60 million with a surety in the like sum who must be a member of the House of Representatives.

However, Faisal jumped bail around September 2020 and stopped attending his trial.

The judge, on Nov. 25, 2020, summoned the lawmaker, Rep Sani Dan-Galadima, representing Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara, who stood as surety for Faisal, for disregarding the court order to produce the defendant in court after he was granted bail.

Abang then revoked the bail granted Faisal, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial should proceed in absentia having being said to have jumped bail by the prosecution.

The judge also ordered the surety to forfeit the property which he used as a bail bond to the Federal Government, having failed to produce Faisal.

How his father was re-arrested after being on the run

In November last year, Maina was re-arrested through the collaborative efforts of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL, and their Nigerien counterparts in Niger Republic, and subsequently extradited back to Nigeria.

Announcing his re-arrest, the Nigerian Police Force spokesman, Frank Mba, said:

“Following the arrest of former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrashid Abdullahi Maina, in Niamey, Niger Republic, the Nigeria Police Force is perfecting extradition processes of the fugitive to Nigeria to enable him to face trial in pending criminal proceedings against him.

“Maina, who was declared wanted by a court of competent jurisdiction, was arrested on November 30, 2020, through the collaborative efforts of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, INTERPOL NCB, Abuja and their Nigerien counterparts.“

Faisal’s father allegedly stole N1.4bn using fictitious accounts

During Abdulrasheed Maina’s trial, a prosecution witness has narrated how Abdulrasheed Maina, stole about N14 billion from pension accounts through several illegal payments to fake pensioners, non-existing contracts, and other pension reform unions.

The witness, Rouqayyah Ibrahim, an investigator with the EFCC told Justice Okon Abang, how a former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, allegedly aided Maina to divert some of the stolen funds through 66 bank accounts.

The witness said an investigation by the commission, through its Pension Fraud Team, found that “Abdulrasheed Maina was deeply involved in stealing those pension funds”.

“Our investigation revealed that there were five modus operandi that the suspect whom we were investigating at that time was used to steal money from the pension account. In total, we were able to deduce that N14 billion was stolen from the pension account,” he said.

He told the court how  Maina opened various accounts with Fidelity Bank ”in the name of his son, sisters, and sister-in-law and other members of his family.”

The witness said the findings were also confirmed by a second prosecution witness, Toyin Meseke, who is a Fidelity Bank staffer.

He said Maina ”had complete control over the several accounts, though his name, signature, and photograph did not appear anywhere in the account opening packages.”

The witness said findings revealed that an account with Fidelity Bank ”in the name of Nafisatu Aliyu Yeldu bears the name of Maina’s sister with her passport, photograph on the face of it”.

On Tuesday, August 31, a Federal High Court, Abuja refused to hear Maina’s fresh bail application

Justice Ahmed Mohammed rejected the bail application moved by Maina’s counsel, Mr. David Iorhemba, on the grounds that it was contentious.

The last, however, has not been heard about his case.

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