15 February 2013

Nigeria: Maina Loses Bid to Stop Arrest

Embattled pension reform boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, Friday, lost his bid to stop his pending arrest by the Nigerian police.

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday dismissed an application filed by Mr. Maina, Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force Team, to prevent his arrest by the police.

The application was meant to upturn the warrant of arrest issued on him by the Senate in March 2012.

Delivering a ruling, Justice Adamu Bello, held that Magaji Mahmud, the counsel to the plaintiff "unwittingly converted the motion ex-parte to a motion on notice by leaking it to newsmen before appearing in court".

"The counsel leaked the information on the motion by granting interview to newsmen over what he intended the court to treat as an exparte.

"By leaking the relief in the motion to newsmen, he has denied the applicant of a possible discretion, of the court to grant the prayers, so, the application is dismissed.

"Relying on Section 4 (4) of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rules of 2009, presupposes that the motion on exparte ought to have been filed and heard before the main application on Fundamental Rights of Enforcement Rule," the judge said.

Mr. Bello said the counsel "did the opposite by filing the motion on notice, which will be heard on February 18, first".

"A self inflicted urgency, fear, threat and of course, intimidation is not recognised by law.

"The applicant is, therefore, mandated to proceed with his earlier motion on notice, which has already been served on parties. It is too late to approach the court with this application in the circumstance," he said.

Maina's demands

At the resumed hearing of the exparte motion, Mr. Mahmud said the motion was brought in pursuant to Sections 46 (3) and 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He submitted that the motion also relied on Order 4 of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rule.

Mr. Mahmud said his client was seeking an order to compel parties to maintain "statuesque ante" pending the determination of a suit he filed against the Senate and others in relation to allegation of pension fraud.

Mr. Mahmud submitted that the applicant had approached the court with the "exparte motion" in view of the subsequent conduct of threat and intimidation on Mr. Maina by the defendants.

Mr. Maina, in a suit with Registration Number FHC/ABJ/CS/65/20B, filed on February 13, sought an order to quash the report of the Senate Committee, which alleged that he (Maina) misappropriated part of the recovered pension loot.

He further sought the court to declare that the call for his arrest by the police is unconstitutional.

Mr. Maina subsequently demanded that a total of N1.5 billion be paid to him by the Senate as cost of damages done to his image by the allegations.

The Senate had ordered that Mr. Maina be arrested, following allegations that the taskforce team, which he led, misappropriated part of the fund it recovered from pension thieves.

The defendants, include the Senate President, the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

Others are the Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration and its Chairman, Kabiru Gaya; and Aloysius Etuk, Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.


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