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Pension Team rejected N2bn bribe, EFCC witness tells court

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Khalid Aliyu, the EFCC  prosecution witness (PW5) in the ongoing trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, ex-chairman, defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), on Friday, disclosed that the PRTT rejected a N2 billion bribe from the accused persons in the police pension fraud.

Aliyu, who is also Maina’s younger brother, made the disclosure during a cross examination before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the EFCC had, on Oct. 25, charged Maina and his son, Faisal, before the court alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.

While Maina was facing a 12-count charge bordering on money laundering, Faisal was charged on a three-count charge of arms possession and violent act.

However, both the father and the son pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

At the resumed trial on Friday, counsel to Maina (1st defendant), Afam Osigwe, asked Aliyu to repeat what he told the court the previous day.

Giving his evidence-in-chief before the court, Aliyu narrated how Maina and his team rejected the N2 billion, in dollar currency, from a driver of one Yusuf Teidi and others who were under probe by the PRTT.

“I remember at the last adjourned date I said that a driver drove in with an SUV at about mid night in a carpark of Head of Service office.

“I was standing with the 1st defendant (Maina) and Mr Steven Oronsaye (former Head of Service of the Federation).

“The driver declared that the money was a gift from the accused persons in a police pension case that the task team was investigating at the time.

“I believe the money was about N2 billion in dollars equivalent.

“The previous day, I was curious about the incident so I asked the 1st defendant (Maina) of what happened after their meeting because he (Maina) informed me that he requested for a meeting with the accused persons in the next day after he sent the driver back.

“The 1st defendant said the task team proposed to the accused to return about 40 per cent of the misappropriated fund so that they may be given a plea bargain,” he narrated.

Osigwe also asked Aliyu, who had worked with a commercial bank before joining the civil service, to tell the court how an instrument is presented to the bank for withdrawal.

In response, the PW5 said: “If an instrument is presented to the bank for withdrawal, it is the name of the person doing the withdrawal that will appear in the system.”

Aliyu added that in banking, an official email communication could only be sent to the official email of the bank staff.

“Yes, each staff has an email ID (identity) in the bank which is also in his or her name,” he said.

When Maina’s lawyer asked Aliyu to tell the court his official email address when he was a bank staff, he said: “I am sory, I cannot remember the email address as at the time I was working with the bank but I am sure it is in the record of the bank,” he said.

He, however, pointed out that each staff email ID usually carried at the end the web address of the bank

When the lawyer asked how a bank customer can stop any bank alert or information from the bank, he said: “When a customer wishes to stop any bank alert or information from the bank, he will write formal application requesting the bank to stop or rather change the phone number.

“And if a customer fills account opening package, it is filed in the customer’s hard or soft copy file.”

Osigwe, therefore, requested that Exhibit D5 of the account opening package of Nafisat Aliyu, Maina’s younger sister, be given to Aliyu to peruse.

The witness then confirmed that there was no official application letter of Nafisat in the exhibit requesting to change her phone number from the account.

“But it may also be in the bank record if requested for,” he added.

The lawyer told Aliyu if he would be surprised to hear that one Alhaji Ali Sani, who was said to have sold Abuja property to Maina at the sum of N150 million, in his statement to EFCC, said that he (Aliyu) was the one who negotiated the price of the property.

The EFCC witness respobded thus: “Yes, I will be surprised.”

Justice Abang, however, asked Osigwe to put the question to Aliyu since he was not the maker of such statement.

When Maina’s counsel asked him who negotiated the price of the property, Aliyu said: “Yes, I still insist that my brother (Maina) directed me to only deliver the negotiated amount for the payment of the property to Alhaji Ali Sani at his residence in Wuse II.”

Justice Abang, who adjourned the matter till Jan. 27, said the adjourned date would be for ruling on the bail variation plea and trial continuation.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza

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