From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Senate Committees on States and Local Government Administration, and Establishment and Public Service have declared Chairman of the Pension Task Team (PTT), AbdulRasheed Maina wanted over the whereabouts of N159 billion pension funds. Joint Committee Chairman, Senator Aloysius Etok said should Maina fail to show up before the committee by 11:00am today, the panel would go ahead with a scheduled public hearing on the missing funds.
Invited to appear before the committee were police pension office, prison and the pension office. Etok recalled how Maina elected to shun the committee’s investigation on pension funds but chose to take his defence to the media rather than the Senate. “After the submission of the report, the chairman of PTT organised several media meetings, claiming that Maina was not given fair hearing during the investigation. “We gave him (the) opportunity for fair hearing but he refused to appear before the committee until we issued a warrant of arrest.
There is no law that states that if one is sued to court and he refuses to appear, the court will not go ahead to deliver judgement. “We went out of our way to issue warrant of arrest before he appeared before the committee. It was as a result of all these that we now decided to invite him again so that he could have fair hearing. “We want to give Maina the last chance and this committee, which represents the Senate of the Federal Republic, is saying that whosoever is behind Maina’s arrogance should know that his time is up and the masses want him to account for his stewardship.
“He should appear before this committee at 11am tomorrow (today) without fail. If he doesn’t come, the committee will proceed to hold the public hearing and we will take presentations from prison, police and pension. We will get all the presentations and make up our case and tell the public what we discovered in the course of our investigations.” Co-chairman of the joint committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya then gave a detailed breakdown of the missing funds, adding that the monies must be accounted for. His words: “N159 billion pension fund is unaccounted for.
In the head of service alone, N139 billion was released but N100 billion was paid out to pensioners. In the police service, N131 billion was paid in five years but only N88 billion was paid out, N44 billion is yet to be accounted for. “This money belongs to the masses and it is expected that it should be accounted for.
“If everybody is allowed to grab as much as he could get, what are we going to bequeath our children? Some people feel that because they have godfathers, that no one can bring them to judgement, they should realise that God is watching.”