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Kogi AG accuses civil servants of N4bn embezzlement
by Victoria Nnakiaike, Lokoja
November 5, 2017 | 12:00 am| | | Start Conversation
Yakubu Okala, Auditor-General, Kogi State has revealed that N4billion belonging to pensioners was diverted into private pockets, stating that the scam was perpetrated by a few individuals who were saddled with the responsibility of handling the pension funds in five years.
Okala, who spoke at a sensitisation workshop for local council employees on the advantages of the contributory pension scheme adopted by the state government, said that the state was weighed down by outstanding N256billion gratuities due to corruption and that the amount was broken down to an estimate of N6 billion outstanding gratuities for state pensioners and N250billion for local council pensioners.
He described the Kogi State Pensions Board as a conduit pipe through which civil servants have been defrauding pensioners, hence the untold hardship and pitiable condition they have been subjected to for many years.
Okala, who also doubles as Kogi State Pension Reform Committee chairman said many civil servants have been scrambling to be posted to the board, as their place of assignment because it was a milk cow where they lined their pockets to the detriment of pensioners.
Okala said the endemic corruption was higher at the local councils with each council having an outstanding gratuity of not less than N10billion.
According to him, the previous scheme was riddled with loopholes that created the opportunity for the civil servants to carry out the illegalities, and that when he was appointed Auditor General many civil servants approached him to be posted to the Pension Board.
“In December 2015 alone, N255million was diverted. The money was released but a few senior management staff in the Pensions Board connived and diverted the money. So, I now began to see why people were scrambling to be posted to the Pensions Board.”
He said the discovery prompted the audit, which revealed that between 2010 and 2015, N4 billion pensions fund released by government were diverted to private pockets.
Sa’ adatu Ahuoyiza Atima, Chairman of the state Pensions Bureau, in her contribution disclosed that for the success of the new contributory pension scheme, the state government would contribute 10 per cent while the workers will contribute 8 per cent.
She described the scheme as safe and laudable, urging all workers to key into it.
Victoria Nnakiaike, Lokoja
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