THE NATION——A banker has told detectives how she ran five accounts used to perpetrate a N2bilion pension fraud in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
Former Pension Reform Task Team chief Abdulrasheed Maina is wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the alleged pension fraud.
The EFCC is probing Maina’s alleged complicity in the operation of the accounts, following the confessions of Fidelity Bank Account Officer Toyin Meseke.
Besides, Meseke is said to have told the EFCC that Maina had been operating a safe deposit box with the bank.
EFCC’s investigators found that withdrawals from the five accounts were usually channelled through some bureaux de change to an account in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The bureaux de change are JIEK BDC, West Waves and Alnasara.
A document obtained by our correspondent identified the accounts as Cluster Logistics, Nafisatu Aliyu, Abdullahi Faizal, Kangolo and Drew Investment.
Meseke spilled the beans on how the accounts were managed by a suspected pension fraud syndicate.
Meseke said: “I managed Nafisatu Aliyu, Cluster Logistics and Abdullahi Faizal for Abdulrasheed Maina as soon as his brother, Khalid Aliyu, left the bank three years ago.
“Though all the three accounts do not carry Abdulrasheed Maina’s name but I carried out instruction on the accounts for him as explained to me by his brother that Abdulrasheed Maina owns all funds in the accounts before he resigned from the bank.
“He is not a signatory to the three accounts mentioned. He usually called me on my phone number -08057465698 – to carry out instruction on all the three accounts.
“And he also sent e-mail instructions through his email [email protected] to my personal email [email protected] to carry out instructions. Thereafter, he would send someone to the bank to give me a form of regularisation on the transactions done on all the three accounts.
“Sometimes when it is getting too late to regularize, I would call to remind him and asked me to come to his house in Kado to receive the regularised cheques.
“Most time, precisely on two occasions, I received the already signed regularised cheques in an enveloped sealed at the gate of his house.
“On 3/10/14, Abdulrasheed sent an instruction to debit Cluster Logistics with the sum of N15, 870, 690 and credit to a Bureau De Change account (JIEK BDC). This amount was converted to US dollars for onward delivery to him. I don’t know, I cannot remember the USD equivalent.
“Also on May 2, 2014, Abdulrasheed Maina sent a mail carrying instruction that the sum of N33, 880,000 be debited from the same Cluster Logistics and transferred to a Bureau De Change (West Waves). This was converted by the BDC customer and delivered to him.
“He scanned and sent another instruction on May 6, 2014 to me to debit Cluster Logistics with N47, 500, 00 and credit to BDC Customer, West Waves BDC who converted and sent to him.
“On the transaction that took place on July 3, 2015 in Abdullahi Faizal, he (Abdulrasheed Maina) sent an e-mail that the account be liquidated and converted to US dollars (USD). So, I got a bureau de change customer to convert the sum of N108million for him.”
Regarding accounts opened in the names of Kangolo and Drew Investment, Meseke added: “I am not sure who the account officers are. Sometimes last year, I got to know that Abdulrasheed Maina owns these accounts. I have never initiated any transaction on these accounts.”
Meseke also confirmed that Maina was operating a safe deposit box with the bank.
She, however, said Maina has sole access to the box.
She added: “As for the safe deposit box, I got to know that Maina maintained a safe deposit box after I joined in 2011 when he came to access his box and that the box had been in existence before I joined the bank in 2008. The last time I saw him coming to access his box was in 2013 but I cannot remember the exact month.”
Yesterday Maina’s lawyer Mrs Esther Uzoma, said: “We are waiting for the amended charges which the EFCC said contained the allegations.
“The EFCC has been saying that Maina operated slush accounts but they have not shown us any evidence.”
In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja she said: “The EFCC should come clean on the matter of my client, Dr. Abdulrasheed Maina. When I appeared before His Lordship, Justice Kolawole on July 21, I made it clear that the EFCC was yet to file any charge as well as serve any summons on Dr. Maina.
“It is trite law that you cannot say an accused is on the run when there is no charge preferred against him or any invitation extended to him.
“During the hearing for the bail application, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), wanted the court to direct me to produce Maina in court at the next sitting but I argued that there are clear procedures, which the EFCC is familiar with and should follow.
“Naturally, the court agreed with my submission on the position of law. Therefore, it is misleading for the EFCC in its statement of Monday to mislead the public that there exists an order for Maina to be produced in court when there is no invitation extended to him let alone a charge preferred against him by the commission.