Ebun Francis || The Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita on Thursday told the House of Rep ad hoc committee probing the reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, the fugitive former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform that Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation was being economical with the truth when he told the committee that he never authorised the reinstatement of Maina.
While responding to questions from the committee members earlier on whether the letter requesting Mr. Maina’s reinstatement came from him, Mr. Malami claimed it did not.
According to Malami, the last letter he “remembered” to have written on the issue was dated January 19, 2017, and was meant to bring attention to all that was happening to Mr. Maina.
He continued, “As at 5th October, Maina’s issue in my office was a work in progress and not yet concluded and that can be associated with previous dealings in February, April, and October so the letter giving specific and clear directives couldn’t have genuinely emanated from my office.”
But while appearing before the ad-hoc committee, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and Joseph Akande, the chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, contradicted the account by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on his role in the matter.
Mrs. Oyo-Ita, faulted the account of Mr. Malami as she stated that she received letters from the office of the Attorney General demanding the reinstatement of Mr. Maina.
According to her, Mr. Malami’s office wrote a series of letters to her office to press for the reinstatement.
She said: “Maina, from records available to us, was dismissed in the year 2013 from the Federal Civil Service for absconding from duty.
“From the beginning of this year, we started receiving series of letters written by the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, addressed to the chairman Federal Civil Service Commission and copied to the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
“As those letters came in, the Federal Civil Service Commission wrote to my office, directing us to request the Ministry of Interior to set up a Senior Staff Committee to review the directives from the Attorney General.
She expressed surprise that Mr. Maina was finally reinstated without the assent of her office.
Oyo-Ita continued, “When I got hold of that letter of reinstatement, I held on to the letter because I needed more clarification of that letter, so I was surprised to find out that without officially conveying the letter of his reinstatement or any letter of posting whatsoever, the said Mr Maina was absorbed into the Ministry of Interior which I learnt through the media.
“I want to place on record here that I still have the original letters here with me. My office will never convey such reinstatement letter to Mr. Maina, so there is no way he could have resumed work at the Ministry of Interior if he had not been officially notified of doing so by the office of the head of civil service commission.”
Samuel Akande, The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service, corroborated Oyo-Ita’s account when he informed the committee in his testimony that the letter requesting the reinstatement of Mr. Maina emanated from the office of the AGF.
Akande said, “Maina was declared absent from duty in 2013 and attempt to locate him proved abortive so the ministry informed the head of service and the head of service informed the commission and ordered that a query be given to Maina to explain why he has been absent from duty.
“Ministry of Interior gave the query and set up an investigative panel to hear the other side of the case but they were unable to locate him.
“When Maina was unable to respond to the query or attend the investigative panel, the SSC (Senior Staff Committee) of the ministry was conveyed to consider his case and after discussion and deliberation, the SSC recommended that Maina be dismissed. When the letter was sent to us from the HoS, we sat on it and the commission agreed with the recommendation and Maina was so dismissed.
“Sometimes in 2014, Maina wrote to the commission appealing that they reconsider their decision and that they review the dismissal given to him.”
Mr. Akande said the commission started receiving letters from the AGF from early 2017.
“In 2017, the commission received a letter from the Attorney General dated 19th January 22017 demanding the reinstatement of Maina.
“Again, the AGF sent another letter to us 27th April. The third letter informing us that he is the chief legal officer of the country and that the basis of our dismissing Maina cannot stand because judge of High Court in Abuja has paused the warrant of arrest and therefore directed.
“The ministry of interior met through their SSC and recommended that he be reinstated. When we looked at it, we approved that he be reinstated.”