The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has hailed the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja that sentenced the former chairman of now-defunct Pension Reforms Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to 61 years imprisonment which will run concurrently for eight years.
CACOL chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran, in a statement signed by Tola Oresanwo, the group’s Director for Administration and Programmes, recalled that the court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang, found Maina guilty on all the 12-count charge preferred against him and his company, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Giving his ruling, Justice Abang had held that the anti-graft agency successfully established the essential ingredients of the offences beyond all reasonable doubts.
The court also 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.
It also 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 found on his premises.
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.
Adeniran stated that while CACOL received verdict against Maina with great delight, he noted that 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.
It stressed that several pensioners that he ought to have paid, died due to his greed and sadism.
Adeniran stated: “Though his plea for mercy landed on the soft spot of the judge, who sentenced him to eight 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 does not deserve mercy because he is a merciless person.
“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 a weakest soul like Maina.”
Adeniran maintained that it had come to public knowledge that Maina had other assets in different parts of the world, stressing that he should be able to either account for those assets or be forfeited to the Federal Government pending his ability to defend them.
The boss stressed: “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.”