Magu shared 222 seized properties to friends, court told

By Catherine Irene, Ademola Adeyemo

A Federal High Court hearing a money laundering suit against Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reformed Task Team (PRTT), has been told ex-EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu shared 222 seized properties to his friends and associates.

Ngozika Ihuoma, a defence witness, stated the PRTT handed the properties to the EFCC during Magu’s time as anti-graft body’s acting chairman.

“By January 2016, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and the national security adviser (NSA) met with Maina in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE),” he said.

“After the meeting in Dubai, Maina gave the delegation intelligence report that led to the recovery of N1.3 trillion out of the N3 trillion promised to recover.

“The money was reported to the senate committee that investigated Maina’s reinstatement back to the civil service in 2017.

“Equally, the task team petitioned the senate on the need to revisit the 7th assembly joint committee that its report was quashed by the federal high court in view of the fact that the 222 choice property valued at N1.63 trillion that was handed over to the EFCC was being mismanaged.

“One of the properties in question located at No 42, Gana Street, Maitama, had been illegally acquired by a renowned lawyer while the property was still subject to litigation.”

He said the property valued at N6 billion in 2011 was sold to the lawyer in 2015 at N1 billion.

“We believe that the task team stood by her integrity and accountability, not minding the persecution by the EFCC before this honourable court,” he said.

Ihuoma alleged that when Magu appeared before the house of representatives committee that investigated the reinstatement of Maina, he denied that the EFCC was a member of PRTT and that properties recovered were not handed over to the commission.

The witness said he had petitioned the AGF through his company, informing him of the lies told by the former acting chairman of the EFCC.

“That led to Malami petitioning Mr President and demanding that EFCC should account for the 222-property valued at 1.63 trillion which eventually led to the setting up of Justice Ayo Salami-led Judicial commission of inquiry,” he said.

“Magu admitted before Salami that he shared and allocated most of these properties to most of his friends, associates, colleagues under some presidential directives but failed to make available to the commission the evidence of that presidential directives.”

Narrating further, Ihuoma stated that Maina gave an intelligence report to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) of a plan to siphon N35 billion from the head of service pension office.

He said that led to the questioning of Winifred Oyo-Ita, former head of service, and five other management committee members, adding that the ICPC indicated readiness to prosecute the matter.

He also said in March 2013, the defendant gave intelligence to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the then minister of finance, and the EFCC, leading to the mop-up of N15 billion from customs, immigration, prison pension office.

Ihuoma said despite that the running cost of the PRTT was not paid, Maina was the only member of the team that was sacked.

He added that Maina “deserves to be reinstated back as approved by the Federal Civil Service Commission in 2017” and should be returned to the civil service.

Okon Abang, the presiding judge, adjourned the matter to March 5 for the continuation of trial.

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