President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the dissolution of the Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina-led Pension Reforms Task Team with immediate effect.
Although the details of the dissolution were sketchy, The Punch learnt on Sunday that letters to that effect were dispatched to all members of the PRTT last week.
An authoritative source confirmed to our correspondent that the Presidential directive was to pave the way for the prosecution of Maina for allegedly refusing to honour the invitation of the Senate on the probe into the pension fund scam.
The source said, “The letter was given to them last week and it read that the President has approved the dissolution of the Pension Reforms Task Team. The letter was signed by the Permanent Secretary (Establishment and Records) in the Office of the HOS, Mr. Charles Bonat.”
It was also learnt that a strict disciplinary action was being put in place in the Federal Civil Service Commission for the embattled PRTT chairman.
If found guilty, Maina risks dismissal for absconding without official leave.
The Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation had recently directed the Ministry of Interior to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Maina.
Meanwhile, the delay in getting Maina arrested by the policemen attached to him might have aided his escape, investigations have revealed.
Findings showed that the security agencies had ample time to have picked Maina up but they were slow in carrying out the Senate order, asking them to arrest the civil servant over his refusal to appear before it to explain his role in the missing N195bn pension fund.
Security sources said Maina could still be picked up if security personnel were keen on doing so, adding that he could be tracked down through his lawyer, aides and family members, who must be in constant communication with him.
Checks showed that since he went into hiding, the suspect had organised one or two press conferences through his aides whom he must have communicated with either through the telephone or physical contact.
It was learnt that Maina was in touch with top government officials and senior security chiefs from December 2012 to early January, 2013, when he went underground after learning that he could no longer enjoy protection from his influential friends in top positions.
The Senate called for Maina’s arrest on December 12, 2012, but our correspondent learnt that he had security aides consisting of policemen and State Security Service personnel throughout that month.
The PRTT chairman is said to have been enjoying official protection from top Presidency officials, who had convinced President Goodluck Jonathan that he was doing a good job and “that he was a victim of witch-hunt by the National Assembly.”