The report of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee, which investigated the alleged reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina has been described as “frivolous and inoperative”.
Sources in the Ministry of Justice, who wish to remain anonymous, said the House committee led by Aliyu Sani Madaki, (APC Kano), got it wrong it its report indicting Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
The 13-page report by the House committee accused Malami as the architect behind the reinstatement of Maina, who was dismissed from service over pension fund fraud.
Malami has since denied any knowledge of Maina’s recall and reinstatement into service.
But the report laid on the floor of the House a fortnight ago, said Maina’s reinstatement was “fraudulently masterminded” and that Malami “pressurised all that mattered” to force Maina back into the service.
“The Attorney General knew that Maina is a fugitive, yet he met him in Dubai. Maina’s reinstatement didn’t follow due process and it was fraudulently masterminded,” the report said.
It said the AGF’s actions on the reinstatement contravened Section 158 of the 1999 constitution, which states that “In exercising its power to make appointments or to exercise disciplinary control over persons, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the National Judicial Council, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Federal Character Commission, and the Independent National Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person”.
But countering the report, officials of the justice ministry, said the House committee overstepped its oversight function to usurping the function of the judiciary which is the only competent authority to make criminal indictment.
“Section 158 of the constitution on the basis of which the committee placed reliance was equally observed by the committee in breach regarding to the fact that the section clearly vests establishment matters relating to appointments, removal and discipline of public Servants exclusively in the federal civil service commission. Looking into the matter by the National Assembly is an exercise in frivolity and lacking in substance upon which it could stand”, a senior counsel in the ministry said.
“For me two things are apparent. One is their allegation of “fraudulent reinstatement”. When fraud, which is criminal conduct is in contention the oversight function of a National Assembly naturally gives way for the invocation of judicial function. Only a court can determine and pronounce a conduct criminal and not a legislature.
“Two, when a matter is submitted to judicial determination by parties, none of the parties can pre-empt the right for judicial determination of the court by way of foisting on it a situation of helplessness. The determination of the National Assembly is over and above persuasive and never binding. It is frivolous and inoperative.”
Meanwhile, a presidency source had also wondered how the house ad-hoc committee came to such “ridiculous” conclusion that Malami was behind Maina’s recall when there was no evidence to that effect.
Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), was dismissed in 2013 and subsequently declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) when he failed to appear for questioning.
Following media reports about Maina’s secret reinstatement, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered his immediate sack.
He also directed the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, to submit a report on how Maina was recalled into the service.
The House in October took it upon itself to probe the matter.