By Umar Muhammad Puma
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji has identified administrative lapses as responsible for reinstatement and promotion of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of the Presidential Pension Reform Task Team.
Speaking before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the circumstances surrounding the disappearance, reappearance, reinstatement and promotion of Maina, Magaji had earlier indicted the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita as being responsible for the letter directing Maina’s reinstatement.
He said: “The only body statutorily empowered to do that is the Federal Civil Service Commission and it must pass through the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation”.
Asked if the Head of Service did minute on the letter from the FCSC to him (PermSec) instructing Maina’s reinstatement, the Perm. Sec. said “if a letter was written in respect of an officer to the Head of Service and that person decided to hold on to it, it doesn’t mean that the reinstatement had not been communicated”.
He, however, added that he didn’t carry out Maina’s reinstatement himself but the head human resources did and informed him about Maina’s resumption to duty, adding that he, while feeling indisposed directed that a letter be written to the HoS informing her of Maina’s resumption to duty.
“It was a week letter when the HoS called me to ask for the letter that referenced to have come from her that I pleaded with her to allow me get back to the office on Monday to see what actually happened because I was sick by then.
“But on getting to the office, I realised that the letter to her was wrongly referenced by the officer I directed to write and I immediately wrote a letter of apology to her that the first letter was actually meant for the Service Commission and not the HoS”, Magaji said.
He appealed to the panel to cast every blame on him being the administrative head of the Ministry, saying that “I take responsibility for every administrative error that has been committed in the course of this whole process of Maina’s resinstatement”.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki-gave the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) a one-week ultimatum to submit to it, report of an investigative committee he claimed to have set up in the Ministry to probe how letters emanated from his office directing Maina’s reinstatement.
The panel members also on the strength of submissions by the HoS earlier asked the Permanent Secretary, Engineer Magaji who claimed that “the AGF has no power to direct the employment, promotion, dismissal and reinstatement of any officer in the service”.
Magaji’s position was on the heels of his boss’ submission that Maina’s reinstatement violated all known civil service procedures in that Maina was to supposed to have been given an endorsement letter attached to the one issued by the Commission and personally present same to the Interior Ministry before he could have been reinstated.
None of such procedure, she said was followed, “Which made his purported reinstatement illegal in the face of the law”.
Oyo-Ita therefore declared before the panel that Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina remains dismissed from the civil service as far as the rules and her office are concerned.
On looted assets under the economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC), the acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu told the panel that Maina never handed over any asset to the commission, Adding that assets in EFCC custody are those recovered by the Commission in the course of its own investigation of pension thieves including Maina himself.
Magu argued that the only link between the EFCC and Maina task team was the participation of a few staff of the commission on the Maina team.