THE Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has is full of plaudits for the Federal High Court in Abuja ruling which passed a guilty verdict on former chairman of the now-defunct Pension Reforms Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina, to 61 years’ imprisonment which will run concurrently for eight years.
Cacol’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, who issued a statement on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, pointed out his organization receives Maina’s conviction with delight, taking into account how he tried to evade prosecution by jumping bail having denied pensioners the right to the fruit of their labour.
“We at CACOL, received the news of the Federal High Court in Abuja verdict on Maina with great delight. It is very interesting to note how he had tried to evade trial by jumping bail at different times and how he had suffered, impoverished and denied many pensioners the opportunity to eat the fruits of their labour while they were alive. Many of the pensioners that he ought to have paid have died due to his own greed and sadism”.
CACOL added however, that the former PRTT should count himself very luck for having his plea for mercy fall on the judge’s soft side, thus getting 8 instead of 14 years.
“Though, his plea for mercy landed on the soft spot of the Judge, who sentenced him to 8 years instead of the maximum 14 years provided by the law, inasmuch as we want to commend Justice Okon Abang for taking this bold step, we believe that Maina doesn’t deserve mercy because he is a merciless person and he had done so much to evade trial which is a pointer to the fact that he is a chronic criminal that should not be given a chance to relate with decent people in the society. We believed that he deserved the maximum sentence of 14 years but now that the judgment had been passed, we hope that EFCC will appeal the judgment and seek for maximum sentence for a weakest soul like Maina. It has also come to public knowledge that Maina has other assets in different parts of the world, he should be able to either account for those assets or be forfeited to the Federal Government pending his ability to defend them”.
CACOL is worried at the penchant with which public office holders siphon the people’s commonwealth without any remorse after which they start running around for respite. It therefore call on all anti-graft agencies, including the EFCC, to gear up its prosecution levers in order to check the excesses of public office holders still dipping their soiled fingers on public treasury.
“In recent times, we have seen public office holders after siphoning the commonwealth of the citizens of this country running into billions to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures and thereafter be running from pillar to post in order to evade arrest and the attendant judicial prosecution. This is why we call on all the Anti-graft agencies to continue to investigate and prosecute other public office holders who are still enjoying their freedom and spending their loots. Moreover, any asset the person has accumulated should be deemed to be proceeds of corruption and should be confiscated and the person should begin again. We have always opined that culprits of official corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to face the full wrath of the law”.