Maina’s Trial: Defence Witness Accuses EFCC Of Mismanaging Recovered Properties
A defence witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the leadership of Mr Ibrahim Magu of mismanaging 222 properties recovered by the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT).
He made the claim on Thursday while giving his testimony at the continued trial of the former PRTT Chairman, Abdulrasheed Maina, at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Ihuoma, who was a consultant to the PRTT, alleged that out of the 222 choice properties handed over to the EFCC, Magu purportedly sold a property to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, for N1 billion naira in 2015.
He added that the property said to be situated at No. 42 Gana Street in the Maitama area of Abuja was originally valued at N6 billion as of 2011.
But Falana has since denied the allegation, saying, “I never bought any property from the EFCC.”
The witness also told the court that the PRTT under the leadership of Maina gave an intelligence report in 2013 to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on an alleged plot to move N35 billion out of the Head of Service Pension Office under the interim management committee of Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, who later became the Head of Service of the Federation before she was replaced.
He insisted that the trial of Maina amounted to persecution, stressing that he was the only member of the defunct PRTT that was being prosecuted despite the huge financial recoveries made for the Federal Government.
After listening to the testimony of the witness, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, adjourned the case until March 5, 2021, for the cross-examination of the witness.
Maina is being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges of money laundering to the tune of N2 billion.
At the last sitting, Ihuoma had told Justice Abang that Maina recovered N282 billion in cash and 222 choice properties valued at N1.6 trillion.
He explained that the said money was warehoused at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the EFCC and the ICPC, saying N74 billion out of the money was used to finance the 2012 national budget, as passed by the then National Assembly.
The witness had also told the court that a presidential directive was issued by former President Goodluck Johnathan that 2.5 per cent which amounted to N7.05 billion of the recovered money be used to run the PRTT’s official duties.
He stated that the fund was never released despite several requests and reminders to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly.