Former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday said he was not paid N5 billion monthly from the Pension Fund during his tenure, as alleged by embattled Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Media reports at the weekend indicated that Mr. Malami as alleged before a Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the Mainagate scandal that the former pensions boss, Abdulrasheed Maina paid Jonathan N5 billion monthly.
Reacting to the allegation, Media Adviser to Jonathan, Ikechukwu Eze dismissed the allegation as “a blatant lie hurriedly cooked up to divert the attention of the general public from the raging ‘Mainagate’ and other embarrassing scandals” plaguing the current administration.
In a statement released on Saturday, Mr. Eze said that the story must have been “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 Jonathan administration.”
Below is the full statement…
“Our attention has been drawn to a story published in one of the national newspapers of November 18, 2017 in which the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was alleged to have told a Senate ad-hoc committee that an “Ex-President was taking N5 billion monthly from the Pension Fund.”
“He was also alleged to have sourced the information from the fugitive former chairman of Pension Reform Task Force Team, Abdul Rasheed Maina who, Malami admitted to have met in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
“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.
“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 have dismissed 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 billion was collected monthly from the Pension Fund by ‘an Ex President’ to give more details .”