By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
The International Police Organization (INTERPOL) has issued a Red Alert on the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr.Abdulrasheed Maina, following his escape from the country.
This will enable relevant security agencies to arrest Maina in any part of the world.
A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr.Wilson Uwujaren, saidÂ Maina is wanted for his alleged role in the fraudulent biometric contracts through which he and former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye and two others allegedly mismanaged over N2 billion of pension funds.
Maina was on July 21, 2015 charged alongside Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretence.
While Oronsaye and two others were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Maina had been at large.
However onÂ July 21Â when the court heard the bail applications of the accused persons, Maina through his counsel, Esther Uzoma told the court that he was not at large, claiming that the EFCC had never invited him.
Despite his excuse, Maina has not appeared for trial from his alleged hideout.
While some reports indicated that he had been in the United Arab Emirates(UAE), his sympathizers claimed that Maina is still in the country.
The situation prompted the EFCC to engage the INTERPOL to track down Maina.
It was however learnt from a top source in EFCC that the INTERPOL had issued a Red Alert which will make his arrest possible in any part of the world.
The source said: “The International Police Organisation, INTERPOL, has issues world-wide red alert on fugitive former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina.
“The notice is based on a request from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which had on November 18, 2015 written to the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, seeking his assistance â€œto issues an INTERPOL Red Alertâ€, on Maina, who had been charged to the Federal High Court on 10th July, 2015 with charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/297/2015.
“In a response to the anti-graft agencyâ€™s request, Olushola Subair, Commissioner of Police, INTERPOL, in a letter dated 11th January, 2016 and addressed to the Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, informed the agency that its request had been processed and a notice duly issued by the INTERPOL.
The letter reads in part: â€œBe informed that the Bureau has taken necessary action on the wanted fugitive as requested with INTERPOL General Secretariat, Lyon, France. He has been published on theÂ INTERPOL Red Notice accordingly.â€
“The import of the notice is that there is no hiding place anywhere in the world for Maina, who was indicted by the EFCC for fraud and the theft of over N2billion in pension funds at the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
“He is widely believed to be hiding in the United Arab Emirates. EFCC had earlier declared Maina wanted after obtaining a warrant of arrest from court.”