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N74bn recovered by Maina used to finance 2012 budget, witness tells court

N74bn recovered by Maina used to finance 2012 budget, witness tells court
March 02
22:15 2021

Ngozika Ihuoma, a witness in the ongoing trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), has told a federal high court that N74 billion recovered by the team was used to finance the 2012 budget.

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While testifying as the first defence witness on Tuesday, Ihuoma who is a management consultant with Crincad & Cari Nigeria Limited, a firm contracted by the PRTT, told the court that the team under Maina’s leadership recovered N282 billion cash, as well as 222 choice properties as proceeds of fraud valued at N1.6 trillion.

He said the money was deposited at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Ihuoma noted that N74 billion out of the recovered sum was used to finance the 2012 national budget as passed by the national assembly.

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He also added that former President Goodluck Jonathan had issued a directive approving that 2.5 percent of the recovered money be used to run the PRTT.

The witness said the money was never released, despite several requests and reminders to the ministry of finance and the national assembly.

“Former President Jonathan ordered N7.05 billion to be released to the task team to offset the fees of their consultants, ICT experts. That has not been honoured till today. Instead, the EFCC was mobilised against Maina,” the witness said.

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Maina, who is on trial for alleged money laundering to the tune of N2 billion, stopped attending proceedings in September, and his absence in court set Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south who stood as his surety, against the law.

He was arrested in Niger Republic where he had taken refuge and was extradited to Nigeria on December 3, 2020.

Consequently, Maina’s bail was revoked and an order was made remanding him in prison until the end of his trial.

The court also refused to grant another bail to the former PRTT chairman, despite pleas on health grounds.

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The case has been adjourned till March 4 for continuation.

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