N500m pension scam: EFCC arraigns five Sokoto government officials

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Sokoto zonal office has on Tuesday arraigned five management staff of the state Primary Staff Pension Board for allegedly diverting N553,985,644.

The money was meant for the payment of retired teachers’ gratuities and pension.

Those arraigned include Abubakar Aliyu, Hassana Moyi, Haliru Ahmad, Kabiru Ahmad and Dahiru Muhammad Isa who were Secretary, Director of Finance and Supply, deputy Director of Finance and Supply, Accountant and Cashier of the board respectively.

The staff were arraigned before the Sokoto High Court on a 28-count charge bordering on forgery, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation which were contrary to sections 92 (2), 311 of the Penal Code law CAP 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria and Sections 351, 353, 348 of the Sokoto Penal Code law 2019.

Explaining more about the case, the Zonal Head of EFCC, Usman Bawa Kaltungo, said they used forged vouchers, withdrew and shared monies meant for the payment of pension and gratuities of primary school teachers in the state.

He explained that the money was withdrawn in tranches.

Kaltungo, however, revealed that the commission acted on a petition brought to them by one of the affected pensioners, saying between January 17, 2017  and March 2020, the Director of Finance withdrew the sum of  N83.2 million from their account with Polaris Bank.

“During the same period, Haliru and Kabiru withdrew N203,217,770.71 and N266,567,053 respectively from the same account in the name of pensioners,” he said

“We had to pay for the transport fares of some of the pensioners before they could come and testify and they were shocked to find out that their long awaited pensions and gratuities had been diverted,” he said

Another EFCC official who spoke under the condition of anonymity said, “with all this money that they had withdrawn, we could not recover anything from them. This is why we are suspecting they were withdrawing for some top government functionaries which they refused to disclose to us.”

However, Kaltungo hoped that the court would do justice to this case.

The case was adjourned till June 28 for the continuation of trial.

 

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