Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, says he is not in the know if President Muhammadu Buhari was involved in the reinstatement of Abdulrashed Maina.
Maina, ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), who had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of fraud, was reinstated into the civil service under controversial circumstances.
Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of the civil service of the federation, had in a leaked memo, claimed that she informed and warned the president about the reinstatement of Maina.
But speaking in an interview with Osasu Igbinedion on The Osasu Show, Adesina said until Oyo-Ita openly declares that she wrote the memo, it does not stand.
He added that he was not in the best position to say if his principal knew about the reinstatement, adding that those who were mentioned in connection should be asked.
Documents seen by TheCable showed the involvement and full knowledge of Winifred Oyo-Ita, Abdulrahman Dambazau, minister of interior; and Abubakar Malami, minister of justice, in the deal gone sour.
“The head of service to the best of my knowledge has not come out to own that memo allegedly published and credited to her. Until she owns it and say this memo is from me, then I can comment on it,” Adesina said.
When asked if Buhari ordered the reinstatement as the leaked memo suggests, the presidential spokesman said “it is those who did the reinstatement who can answer that question, not me. Those involved and those mentioned- federal civil service, head of service, and attorney general of the federation. I think you should rather pose that question to them.”
Asked if thought that the reinstatement tainted the name of the administration, he said: “Yes. But if it was a bad look, was it an error of judgement or a deliberate thing. That is something we should consider.
“If it was not deliberate, errors can be corrected.”
Replying to questions asked on why it took Buhari so long to sack Babachir Lawal, suspended secretary to government of the federation (SGF), Adesina said the president took his time to ensure the right thing was done.
“You need to get the perspectives right. When the senate began that process, they took it to what they thought was a conclusion and then the president ruled them, saying I will not accept your recommendations for this reasons- not all members of the committee signed the report, the SGF was not given an opportunity to defend himself,” he said.
“He stated all those points so he rejected their recommendations. Then there was a time that the issue was looked at critically and the president decided to set up a panel including the vice president, national security adviser and the attorney general of the federation, and that was on April 19 this year.
“So, as far as the presidency was concerned, that was when the saga really began. And remember that the president was on medical vacation then. He came back august 19 and August 23, he received that report, six big volumes.
“Thorough, methodical, painstaking man, he studied that report with a fine tooth comb. It could be six months as long as the right thing is done.
“The corruption fight is already in-house, it is already holistic. With the president and for the president, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you are tainted with a brush of corruption, you will answer for it.”