Kogi State government has uncovered a multi-billion naira pension fraud perpetrated under the successive administrations of former Governors of the State, Alh Ibrahim Idris and Captain Idris Wada. An audit report made available to LEADERSHIP at the weekend indicated that the fraud involved the misappropriation of over N4.3 billion between 2010 and 2015.
The audit report, which emanated from the office of the attorney general of the state, unraveled the activities of a syndicate used by the administrations to divert pension and gratuity funds to private accounts, using names of unintended beneficiaries to the detriment of pensioners in the confluence state. Miffed by the level of unpaid pensions in the state, the incumbent governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on assumption of office, had ordered a comprehensive audit of pension funds in the state, which led to the mind-boggling revelations of fraudulent activities under the previous administrations.
Governor Bello has said those who are found guilty of the humongous fraud in the pension administration under the two administrations in the state will be prosecuted. Speaking with journalists in Lokoja at the weekend, the director general of Media and Publicity to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said the governor is “sad” over the incident. Fanwo said, “His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has expressed disappointment over the unfortunate diversion of pension funds during the last two administrations in the State. He has found it very hard to understand how people put in authority could punish the senior citizens of our dear state by diverting monies meant for their pensions and gratuities into private pockets. “To this end, the governor has directed the publication of the full reports, promising that anyone found culpable will be prosecuted to explain their heinous crimes against innocent pensioners in the state. “The present administration in the state is fighting corruption. To move forward, we must clean up our corrupt past and redeem whatever we can to instill discipline in the system and confidence in our people’s minds. We will never condone acts of corruption. “We have been repaying bonds that were either stolen or misapplied. We are repaying loans that were taken and stolen outrightly by the previous administrations. These are the things affecting our liquidity as a state”. See details of the audit report from the next page