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Members of the Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate the controversial reinstatement of a former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdul-Rasheed Maina, into the service of the Federal Government, on Tuesday met with Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau.
The meeting was however held behind closed doors.
The Senate panel sent journalists out of the venue for its meeting with the officials of the Federal Civil Service Commission last Wednesday. Malami arrived at the initial venue for the investigative hearing, Room 224, at 12pm, the time scheduled to start the meeting but the timing for Malami’s appearance coincided with the day’s plenary, making Malami to wait for the arrival of the members of the panel.
An official of the National Assembly ushered the minister out of the empty room at about 12.15pm, while the venue was later locked.
The venue changed to Room 231, where the meeting was held some minutes after.
Dambazau later appeared at the new venue.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, before the meeting began, announced that it would be held in camera to allow both sides to freely express themselves.
Last week, the committee invited members of the Senate Press Corps to the investigative hearing through a letter from the Clerk, Mrs. Edith Ajah, dated November 8, 2017.
Paulker, however, asked journalists to leave the venue after officials of the FCSC and the Ministry of Interior had introduced each other.
The Acting Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Joseph Oluremi Akande; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior Abubakar Magaji, led the two teams.
Paulker decried that while the AGF officially informed the panel of his unavailability, Dambazau failed to appear before the lawmakers.
The Senate on October 24 set up an ad hoc committee to investigate Maina’s return to the country after he was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a N2bn pension fund scandal. The chamber is also probing into his reinstatement into the civil service and promotion after returning from self-exile.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, set up the panel made up of chairmen and vice-chairmen of Senate Committees on Public Service and Establishment; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption; and Internal Affairs.
Saraki said, “Honestly, we are all very disturbed and I will like the committee to work very hard and bring the report back to us on this matter that really borders on security, fight against corruption and how we manage our public service.”
The decision by the Senate followed the adoption of a motion moved by Senator Isa Misau, on Maina’s matter.