Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Appeal Court upholds Maina’s conviction over N2.1 billion pension fraud

“There was no denial of fair hearing as opportunity was given to the appellant to defend himself by the lower court.

• May 5, 2023
Abdulrasheed Maina
Abdulrasheed Maina

The Court of Appeal on Friday in Abuja upheld the judgement of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court which sentenced Abdulrasheed Maina to eight years imprisonment.

Maina, who was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), was sentenced following his conviction for laundering pension funds to the tune of N2.1 billion.

Delivering judgment on behalf of the three-member panel, Justice Elfreda Daudu-Williams held that an opportunity was given to Maina to defend himself which he failed to use.

“There was no denial of fair hearing as opportunity was given to the appellant to defend himself by the lower court.

“Given the foregoing, it behoves the appellant to defend himself in the money laundering allegations.’’

Justice Daudu-Williams said that there was not enough evidence in the defence given by Maina to prove that he did not commit the offence.

“The whole issue is resolved against the appellant and the appeal fails, this is the position of the court,’’ the judge said.

Justice Abang had on Nov. 8, 2022, sentenced Mr Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), to eight years in prison for money laundering.

The sentence was to run concurrently beginning from Oct. 25, 2019, when he was arraigned.

The judge also ordered that Mr Maina’s company, Common Input Property and Investment Limited, which was charged alongside Maina be wound up and its assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

Mr Maina, not satisfied with the judgment of the trial court, approached the appellate court challenging the judgment.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, EFCC alleged that Maina used fictitious names to open and operate various bank accounts.

The anti-graft agency also said that he recruited his relatives that were bankers to operate fake bank accounts through which illicit funds were channelled.

The EFCC arraigned him on a 12-count charge and alleged that sums of N300 million, N500 million and N1.5 billion were stolen from pensioners and deposited in the accounts.


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