A new report has revealed how the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, twisted a 2013 high court judgment to recall a former Chairman of Presidential Pension Reforms Taskforce Abdulrasheed Maina.
The judgment delivered on March 27, 2013, by Justice Adamu Bello of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court (now retired), only faulted the process that led to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against Maina.
Justice Bello had advised the ex-pension boss to surrender himself to the authorities investigating the alleged N2 billion fraud.
The court also noted there was no evidence that the investigation Senate commenced against Maina was “one validly commenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 constitution.”
The Justice Bello-led court held that Senate investigative committee failed to annex vital documents to show that the ex-pension boss was accorded fair treatment before the warrant of arrest was issued against him.
Exerpts from the judgment read, “The implication of the failure to produce and annex these vital documents to the counter affidavit of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th respondents is that there is no evidence before me to show that the investigation commence by the said respondents is one validly commenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 88(1) of the 1999 constitution.
“If it has not been validly commenced in accordance with the Constitution, it follows that the summons or invitation to the Applicant (Maina) to appear before the Committee would not have been validly issued and ipso facto, the warrant of arrest was not validly issued.
“In the circumstances therefore, I am bound to set aside the warrant of arrest issued by the 2nd respondent which threatens the right of the applicant to his personal liberty.
“Consequently, the warrant of arrest issued by the 2nd respondent for the arrest of the applicant is set aside.
“I grant relief-1 contained in the statement. I also grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents jointly and/or severally by themselves and or their agent, privies, servants, however so called from arresting the applicant on account of the warrant of arrest which has been set aside.
“However, beyond these two reliefs, given all the facts available to the court, the applicant is not entitled to any other relief.
“My decision is based purely on the failure of the respondents to annex the vital documents I mentioned, otherwise, the applicant would not have any case at all.
“The decision should not therefore send a wrong signal to the public that the senate does not have the power to cause an investigation within the purview of the powers conferred on it by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution with respect to the matters enumerated therein.
“It has such powers and when properly exercised, it can summon any person in Nigeria to give evidence and can also compel the attendance of any such person.
“Let me end the judgment by advising the applicant to submit himself voluntarily to the investigation by the senate in order to show that he respects constituted authority.
“It is the least expected of him as a public officers and as a citizen of Nigeria”, Justice Bello held.
However, in a letter with Ref. No. HAGF/FCSC/2017/Vol. 1/3, Malami had directed the Federal Civil Service Commission to give consequential effect to a judgment he said voided the process that led to Maina’s dismissal from service.
On the strength of the letter, the FCSC, at the end of a meeting it held on June 14, 2017, requested the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, OHCSF, vide a letter marked FC.4029/82/Vol. III/160, and dated June 21, to advise the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior to consider the AGF’s letter and make appropriate recommendations regarding Maina’s case.
In line with the directive, the Ministry of Interior, at its Senior Staff Committee meeting held on June 22, placed reliance on the AGF’s letter and recommended that Maina be reinstated into the Service as Deputy Director on Salary Grade Level 16.
Consequently, the FCSC, on August 16, approved the reinstatement of Maina with effect from February 21, 2013 (being the date he was earlier dismissed from Service