The Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, yesterday said the late director in the Kogi State Civil Service, Mr Alphonsus Ameh, was sacked over his alleged involvement in the fraudulent diversion of over N225m Pensioners’ fund.
The chief press secretary (CPS) to the state governor, Petra Onyegbule, in Lokoja, disclosed that Ameh and four others in the State Pension Board were sacked due to misappropriation of Pensioners’ fund amounting to N225, 936, 425. 72 million.
According to Onyegbule, a nine-man senior management committee was set up by the state government, which had Mr Aiyedero Jethro, the acting permanent secretary as chairman, and Mr John Ekele, the acting DAF as the secretary, for fair hearing.
She added that an emergency meeting of the committee was held on May 4, 2017, which drew the attention of the members to the report from the State Intelligence Bureau and the review of the same by the State Auditor – General, Mr Yusuf Okala.
She said that the report was on a case of misappropriation of Pensioners’ fund which was forwarded to the office of the head of Civil Service by the secretary to the state government. She noted that the governor therefore directed that appropriate immediate action should be taken on the matter.
The CPS said “In the report, the auditor general recommended the immediate dismissal of all civil servants indicted in the police report.
“Based on the personal confession by Mr Alphonsus Ameh to the State Intelligence Bureau and that he (Ameh) has commenced repayment, attested to the fact that he actually committed the fraud.
“The late Ameh confirmed to the committee that he received a sum of N2 million as his own share of the looted pensioners’ fund, which he thought was a Christmas bonus.
“Ameh also confirmed that he had refunded part of the money, and pleaded that the committee should tamper justice with mercy considering the numbers of years he had spent in the service.
“The committee said that since Ameh affirmed his participation in the sharing of the misappropriated fund, coupled with the fact that he (Ameh) had commenced refunding part of the money, confirmed that he was guilty of the offence.
“The committee added that Ameh has violated the Public Service Rule (PSR) No. 4, section 04401 No. VIII, XI and XII, liable to dismissal from the Service, and therefore recommended that the punishment stipulated by the PSR should be upheld as a deterrent to other civil servants.
“It is on the recommendation of the committee that Mr Aphonsus Yahaya Ameh, and four others were sacked in June 2017, because a Case of criminal conspiracy and theft was established against them,” she said.
Onyegbule mentioned others involved in the alleged fraud as: Mrs Florence Adewunmi, Chairperson of the Pensions Board; Mrs Haruna Amina Mudi, Director Accounts; Mr Abdul Musa, Deputy Director Accounts; and Mr Itodo Gabriel, Head of Accounts, all of the State Pension Board.
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