Thursday, July 18, 2024

N2 Billion Pension Fraud: Court orders final forfeiture of Abdulrasheed Maina’s property

“Again, I hold that the respondents have failed woefully in tilting the scale of evidential weight in their favour,” Ms Abdulmalik said.

• July 5, 2024
Abdulrasheed Maina
Abdulrasheed Maina

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered final forfeiture of at least 20 property linked to the convicted former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.

Justice Joyce Abdulmalik, in a judgement, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt that the property, located in different parts of the country, were acquired illegally.

According to Ms Abdulmalik, the applicant effectively discharged its responsibility, under the law, to establish that the property were acquired with proceeds of crime.

The judge also held that the “various individuals, who responded to an earlier interim forfeiture order, requiring interested parties to show cause why the properties should not be permanently forfeited, failed to establish their ownership of the affected properties with credible evidence.”

Out of the 23 property listed in the schedule, three of them were left out, which include Flat 42C, SMC Quarters, Unguwan Dosa, Kaduna; Plot 18, Road F, on TPO 462B C of O Kd5469 and Plot of C of O Bo/426 Beacon B5086, B5087, B5105, B5104, B5099 Cadastral Zone B05 Utako.

Mr Maina’s wife, Laila, who claimed to be a citizen of the United States, and some of his relatives and associates, including Uwani Usman, Aminu Yakubu Wambai, Haruna Mu’azu Musa and Aliyu Abdullahi, had claimed ownership of the 23 property. 

The anti-graft agency had earlier obtained an order of interim forfeiture of 23 property linked to Mr Maina, currently on eight-year jail term for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion.

Delivering the judgement on Thursday, Ms Abdulmalik agreed with lawyer to the EFCC, Farouk Abdullah, that those who claimed to own the property failed to effectively establish the alleged ownership by producing credible evidence.

She said: “It is trite in law that civil cases in non-conviction forfeiture are hinged on the preponderance of evidence.

“Again, I hold that the respondents have failed woefully in tilting the scale of evidential weight in their favour.

“In all, sequel to the facts and documentary detailed evidence relied on by the applicant (the EFCC) in support of this application for final forfeiture, I do hold that the evidential burden of proof indeed shifted to the claimants to establish by way of cogent documentary evidence, the sequential trail of the genesis of their finances leading to the buildup as well as the the acquisition of the aforementioned properties subject of interim forfeiture.

“In view of this grave omission on the part of the claimants (Maina, his wife and his associates) to show good and credible cause on the history of their legitimate earnings, I hereby find merit in applicant’s application for final forfeiture of properties Nos: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22 and 23 set out in schedule one, attached to the order of interim forfeiture, save properties No: 3, 14 and 20. I so order.”

The affected properties are located in Abuja, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Kano states. 

They include “Plot No: 965 Gwarimpa 1 District, Cadastral Zone: CO2, covered by C of O No: 1afew-fe28z-63a5r-e36eu-10.

“Duplex located at No: 16 A Katuru Road, Kaduna.

“52B, SMC Quarters, Unguwan Dosa, Lot 016, comprising of 3 bedroom semi-detached bungalow.

“Property at Tola Street, Badarawa, Kaduna, comprising three bedrooms and an undeveloped land.

“Plot Y12, Kano Street, Kawo New Extension, Kaduna.

“A duplex located at No: 21, 52 Crescent , Kubwa Phase 1V estate. 

“House 8, 211 Road, a close numbered FHA/EST/264/TA/032.l, 3 bedrooms bungalow.

*Farm at Dorawa, Karshi Development Area, Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.

“Another farm at Dorawa, Karshi Development Area, Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.

“Plot 3A, Sambo Road, Unguwan Rimi, covered by C of O No: KD15452.

“Plot MF-27A, New Pasafi Layout, Kuje, Abuja.

“Plot 1B Ajayi Road, Unguwan Rimi, covered by C of O numbered: NC24059. 

“Block 23 Flat 2 located at Life Camp (2 bedroom semi-detached.

“Property at No: 62 A/C Maternity ward, Damaturu Road, Biu. 

“Plot 3A, Sambo Road, Unguwan Rimi covered by C of O No: KD15452 comprising uncompleted buildings.

“Plot covered by C of O B426 beacon: B5086; B5087; B5105; B5104; B5099 at Cadastral Zone B05, Utako.

“No: 16 Dabai Road, off Mangoro Road, Sokoto State.

“No. 13 Korau Road, Nasarawa District, Kano.

“Plot 965 Cadastral Zone C02, Gwarimpa, FCT, Abuja.”

(NAN)

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