The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, on Tuesday, hailed the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja that sentenced a former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reforms Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to 61 years’ imprisonment, which will run concurrently for eight years.
In a statement by the anti-graft coalition’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said CACOL received the news of the court’s verdict on Maina with great delight.
He said, “We at CACOL received the news of the Federal High Court in Abuja verdict on Maina with great delight. It is very interesting to note how he had tried to evade trial by jumping bail at different times and how he had suffered, impoverished and denied many pensioners the opportunity to eat the fruits of their labour while they were alive. Many of the pensioners that he ought to have paid have died due to his own greed and sadism.”
The anti-corruption Crusader said, “Though his plea for mercy landed on the soft spot of the Judge, who sentenced him to 8 years instead of the maximum 14 years provided by the law, inasmuch as we want to commend Justice Okon Abang for taking this bold step, we believe that Maina doesn’t deserve mercy because he is a merciless person and he had done so much to evade trial which is a pointer to the fact that he is a chronic criminal that should not be given a chance to relate with decent people in the society. We believed that he deserved the maximum sentence of 14 years, but now that the judgment has been passed, we hope that EFCC will appeal the judgment and seek a maximum sentence for the weakest soul like Maina. It has also come to public knowledge that Maina has other assets in different parts of the world, he should be able to either account for those assets or be forfeited to the Federal Government pending his ability to defend them”.
The CACOL’S Chairman added, “In recent times, we have seen public office holders after siphoning the commonwealth of the citizens of this country running into billions to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures and thereafter be running from pillar to post in order to evade arrest and the attendant judicial prosecution. This is why we call on all the Anti-graft agencies to continue to investigate and prosecute other public office holders who are still enjoying their freedom and spending their loot. Moreover, any asset the person has accumulated should be deemed to be proceeds of corruption and should be confiscated and the person should begin again. We have always opined that culprits of official corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out and made to face the full wrath of the law”.
DAILY POST reports that the court ordered Maina and his firm to restitute about N2.1billion that was traced to their bank accounts, to the Federal Government, after which it ordered that the company should be wound up.
Besides, it ordered the forfeiture of Maina’s two choice properties at Life camp and Jabi districts of Abuja, to the government, as well as the auction of a bulletproof car and a BMW 5 series car that was found on the premises of the properties.
Justice Abang stressed that though the law made provision for a maximum sentence of 14 years, he was moved by Maina’s plea for mercy.