The Sun News

Maina probe’ll continue –Senate

•Hails Judiciary for rejecting injunction

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Twenty four hours after a Federal High Court in Abuja rejected a bid from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Shehu Malami (SAN) to stop Senate from investigating the controversial reinstatement of former chairman of the Presidential Pension Reforms Task Force, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, the upper legislative chamber has resolved to press ahead with the probe.

Senate has mandated its Committee on Establishment and Public Service, handling the probe, to expedite action and submit a final report as soon as possible.

Spokesman Sabi Abdullahi, in a statement, yesterday, said the Red Chamber owes Nigerians the duty to inform them about the reinstatement of Maina by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government and those who played active roles in his return.

Abdullahi said: “While we respect the position of the court and would respond accordingly, Senate has further directed the committee investigating the Maina issue to expedite action and submit their reports on time.

“Senate believes Nigerians are interested in knowing the how, who, why and where or what is now known as the ‘Mainagate.’ We definitely will not allow those who want the facts buried to prevail.”

In its response to the failed court injunction Malami sought on Monday, Senate asked him what he was afraid of by instituting the action in the first place.

“We wonder what the AGF is afraid of. When he appeared before our committee, he was well received and fairly treated. He, indeed, expressed happiness with the protection given to him by the  committee handling the Maina case. Why, then, is it very important and urgent for him to stop the investigative hearing? What is the AGF trying to hide?

“Let it be known that the Legislature has the power of investigation on all institutions, bodies and individuals, particularly those who access funds that have been appropriated by us. We, however, express our commendation to the Judiciary for upholding the principles of separation of powers and insisting on fair hearing. We believe that is the reason why the judge refused to grant the prayers of the AGF, yesterday (Monday)  and, rather, insisted that the National Assembly should be put on notice and served all the court processes so that we can enter our own defence.”

Malami approached the court with an ex parte application and sought an interim injunction to halt Maina’s probe by lawmakers.

Rather than grant the motion, Justice Binta Nyako declined and ordered Malami to put the National Assembly on notice.

The legislature was specifically asked to show cause, on January 15, why Maina’s probe should go on.

Not satisfied with the ruling, Malami reportedly filed another motion and asked the court to determine if the National Assembly has the right to probe issues relating to the “employment, attendance at work, disengagement, reinstatement and or promotion of a civil servant.”

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