By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
The family of AbdulRasheed Maina has refuted claims by an online media that he is feigning sickness and receiving presidential treatment in Kuje Correctional Facility where he is being detained.
The family state that Maina has been on life support and medication for the past 15 years.
Sahara Reporters had reported that the ex-chairman of Pension Reforms Task Team, who is facing charges of N2 billion fraud and was brought to court last week on wheelchair, is only feigning illness while receiving presidential treatment in the Kuje Correctional Facility.
But the family, in a quick reaction, said Maina is on life support due to his deteriorated hereditary condition.
A statement signed by Abdullahi Usman for the family said: “Our attention has been drawn to news headline published online by Sahara Reporters insinuating falsehood concerning the health and trial of the former Pensions Funds chief, Abdulrasheed Maina.
“Contrary to the report, we wish to clarify on some allegations made by the news outlet concerning his health situation and the ongoing trial. It is absolutely not true that Maina is receiving any presidential treatment in Kuje prison where he is being detained. He is placed under the usual prison conditions in an uncomfortable cell that is dilapidated.
“It is also a figment of the imagination of those who concocted the lies that Maina is receiving visitors at will. It is in fact a more difficult task than the usual prison processes of visiting detained person, to gain access or be allowed to visit Maina in detention. Several family and friends have made efforts to see him but all to no avail.
“It is indeed embarrassing to the Assistant Comptroller of Kuje prison to have been falsely accused of receiving cash bribes to delay or stop presenting Maina before court with sole intention to hinder justice when the need arises as feigned by the online news medium. How and where would Maina that is not allowed visitors get cash to bribe any official, comes to every right-thinking mind because it is a blatant lie.
“Maina was on life support, medication for over 15 years, you can confirm this from his medical records. Maina had survived on control drugs treatment for many years and his condition got deteriorated due to lack of access to his prescribed medications while in detention, a hereditary health condition also being faced by his son Faisal Abdurrasheed. He also suffers severe back ache due to the ill-condition of his place of detention.
“Recently, Maina spent three days in the prison hospital and is seriously indisposed to stand trial in that condition. The court acted rightly based on medical reports presented to it for which it moved the case further to allow him resuscitate.
“We wish to disabuse the mind of the general public that Maina, who is surviving on support from friends and relatives since he left his position, has any money to the extent of using it to compromise witnesses through bribery. This is also an insult on the presumed witnesses to be presented before the court by his accusers.
“It shows a sense of desperation on their side. In as much as it would not be ideal to accuse his detention of being purposely done to give room to present fake witnesses to the court, it is also wrong to claim that if he is released on bail he would bribe the witnesses. Are they paid by his accusers to stand against him?
“We wish to remind the general public that Maina is only a victim of circumstance. He was in a position where a lot of people thought they could exploit and loot pensions funds which he disallowed. He is today paying the price for protecting the pension funds from looters and extorting funds termites. We therefore call for justice not only be done but be seen to have been done.”