Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has debunked reports that he was collecting N5m monthly from the former chairman, Presidential Pension Tax Team, Abdul Rasheed Maina.
He said the report was not only untrue, but also part of the plot by some elements in the present administration to smear his administration.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was reported to have told the Senate ad-hoc committee that an “Ex-President was taking N5 million monthly from the Pension Fund” based on the submission of Maina whom he met in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
Reacting to the report through a statement by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze , the former President insisted that there was no truth in the alleged claim. It read in part: “Our initial reaction was to ignore the story because it was speculative, conjectural, full of mischief and rumour-driven, since the National Assembly ‘sources’ were not disclosed and the ex-President in question was not identified by name.”
“However, since the Pension Reform Task Force Team served under former President Jonathan, we believe that the story was concocted as part of the unfolding grand design to always dodge responsibility and blame every evil act taking place in the present dispensation on the past Jonathan administration.”
It continued: “In the first place, we do not believe that AGF Malami made such a claim because he is in a position to know that it is simply not true.”
“We expect that even the Senators, if they were ever told that, would dismiss it as a blatant lie hurriedly cooked up to divert the attention of the general public from the raging ‘Mainagate’ and other embarrassing scandals. Let us not forget that the 7th Senate had uncovered large scale fraud and indicted Maina upon which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared him wanted for pension fraud in 2015.”
“We also strongly believe that Maina, who is alleged to be the source of the false information, couldn’t have said that. Even for a drowning man, understandably clawing on every straw for survival, that would have been a very wild shot, if it actually came from him.
We will simply challenge the Senate Committee to demand from those who fabricated the spurious claims that N5 million was collected monthly from the Pension Fund by ‘an Ex-President’ to give more details and produce evidence of how these transactions were made. They should be able to establish whether the monthly payment of N5 million to ‘an ex-President’ was made in cash or through bank transfers, in which case they should name the banks involved. We advise that this matter should not be allowed to go the way of similar ones that have been swept under the carpet.”
“We have no doubt that this is just another futile effort to cover up the ineptitude and corrupt tendencies of members of the present administration, who are now caught up in the Maina mess.” “We believe that more of these ridiculous and manifestly unintelligent allegations will be raised against the Jonathan administration by agents of the corrupt elements in the present government.”