By Chukwudike Uwa
Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road”
I have read and followed very closely the travails of Ms. Aliyu and found that not even those in the several lists of looters of this economy have been so harassed, intimidated and persecuted. It beats me that the said lady is still standing considering all that she has been going through since the “ill fated” announcement on August 2, 2017.
The Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigria on the 2nd day of August 2017, while Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON acted as the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, announced the names of nominees to the Board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC). Hajiya Maimuna Sanda Aliyu was named as one of the nominees. This singular recognition which ordinarily should bring joy to the said Ms. Aliyu turned out to be the beginning of what has become the most negative press and persecution any single Nigerian in private life would ever experience.
A few hours after the announcement of nominees, a group of persons working in concert with the traducers of Ms. Aliyu at Aso Savings and Loans PLC went to the drawing board with a single mission – that is – Pull Maimuna down. With Maimuna in the Board of ICPC, the former chairman of the Financial Institution and his co-travellers saw themselves closer to the prison gates.
It has been revealed that Hajia Aliyu’s greatest sin was her protestation in 2011, against the donation of N1B (One billion naira) to the then ruling Party by the then Vice Chairman of the Board of Aso Savings and Loans Plc. Her pain was that this donation was made from depositor’s funds at the financial institution where she then served as an Executive Director in charge of marketing. She is said to have also frowned at the reckless grants unsecured Loans to Politically exposed Persons and to Government Agencies. Aliyu stood as an outlier in the entire Executive Management team but hung on till 2013 when she exited, but not without helping in workout situations that improved the risk assets of the institution. She was, of course rewarded by Aso Savings with some housing units as her performance bonus.
There is no gainsaying that the anti corruption stance of the present government put so much pressure on the Board of Aso Savings that it became necessary to clean their mess and plug all holes. In achieving this, part of their strategies would be to intimidate, frustrate and to silence Ms Aliyu, so that their secret would remain safe. To achieve this, there was a need to use ready puns in the Nigeria Police, ICPC and other such law enforcement agencies where they could get evil co-operators.
Firstly, ASO Savings & Loans Petitioned the Nigeria Police in December 2015 against Ms. Aliyu in what it captioned “CASE OF CONSPIRACY, FRAUDULENT DIVERSION AND ABUSE OF OFFICE”. This matter was thoroughly investigated and Ms. Aliyu was found clean. The Police Investigating Team (IG Monitoring Unit) was led by one SP Taiwo Oyewale.
Dissatisfied with the report of the Police Investigation, the bank in July 2016 took yet another petition to the same IG monitoring Team and another ICPC on the same facts. Prior to the filing of the later petitions, the management of Aso Savings had applied self help by use of thugs in visiting one of our Ms. Aliyu’s properties where her son lives and constituted nuisances while threatening to forcefully eject him. This led to Ms. Aliyu approaching the Courts for the enforcement of her fundamental rights, in a matter which is still pending.
The ICPC also investigated the petition before them at the instance of Aso Savings and adjudged that the facts do not represent the ingredients of corrupt practices or abuse of office. It advised that parties go and explore amicable settlement, especially considering that the matter was already before a court of competent jurisdiction. The Police was also in agreement with the ICPC position having investigated same matter in 2015. It is important to note that this matter was rested by both the ICPC and the Nigeria police. It was only reopened when Ms. Aliyu’s name featured in the ICPC Board nomination.
To perpetuate the grand plan of nullifying Ms. Aliyu’s nomination, they got their first ally in SP Taiwo Oyewale of the Nigeria Police (IG Monitoring Team) who lead the investigation team that looked into the earlier discussed 2015 petition of Aso Savings. Mr. Oyewale did the bidding of his pay masters by rushing to draft and sign a fake report of investigations which falsified facts and findings as were reached in 2015. The report was to achieve one thing – ensure Ms. Aliyu was dropped from the Board.
Unsure of what the Presidency would do, the paymasters of the ICPC had continued to sponsor unsustainable and baseless charges against Ms. Aliyu and at any point they find they cannot diligently prosecute the case, they initiate another. They had approached Ms. Aliyu for settlement in charge they are having difficulty in prosecuting and because they find it difficult meeting her terms, they have initiated another criminal case of money laundering and intend to proceed without serving her. The new suit is field at the Federal High Court, Abuja while the former is at the FCT High Court. The facts of the matter are similar in all respects except that the currency involved in the former is Nigerian Naira while the latter is in United Sates of America dollars.
At the FCT High Court the allegation is that Ms. Aliyu used her office to dispose of 3 plots of Land in Jahi which belongs to her then employers – Aso Savings and Loans Plc and appropriated N57M realised from the sales to her personal use. The buyer of the property – Mr. Vincent Msheila had since been given all title documents by Aso Savings and is not a party in any of the suits. The latest suit is based on same transaction and facts safe for the fact that the payments for the property were stated to have been made in US dollars and laundered by Maimuna Aliyu. Lawyers and the legal minded would want to determine whether this is not an abuse of court processes. I also wonder what becomes of the person who made payments for the property in foreign currency. Has the ICPC become so unoccupied with their primary responsibility that they now spend all their time strategizing on how to nail Ms. Aliyu? Perhaps the paymasters of the unscrupulous staff of this Commission who are involved in this shenanigans have been paid what they may never earn in the next decade serving the nation.
I gathered that their latest action is not unconnected with their finding that Ms. Aliyu had on March 15, 2018 petitioned the President of the Senate in what she captioned – PETITION AGAINST WANTON HARRASSMENT, EMBARRASSMENT, INTIMIDATION AND PERSECUTION OF HAJIYA MAIMUNA S. ALIYU BY THE ICPC.
I think we need answers to several questions: –
Why must the ICPC be hell bent on decimating and silencing Ms. Aliyu?
Why is the Attorney General of the Federation silent about the mess at the ICPC?
What has become of Maimuna Aliyu’s petition to ICPC on the Billions of naira lost at Aso Savings & Loans Plc and corporate governance issues?
Is it proper that ICPC files a charge against a person without first inviting and questioning the suspect with a view to arriving at a credible investigation report to sustain a criminal action ?
What is keeping the constitution of the Board of ICPC? Must the government continue to allow compromised staff ruin the Commission?
How terrible is the pain of the mind and heart when the freedom of mankind is suppressed!
Chukwudike Uwa writes from Enugu