The Sokoto zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) says it has arrested five management personnel of the state Primary Staff Pension Board for allegedly diverting over 500 million naira (N553.985,644.1.)
The money was meant for the payment of retired teachers gratuities and pension.
The staff 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 employees were charged with forgery, criminal breach of trust, and misappropriation in violation of 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.
In a statement, the Zonal Head of the EFCC, Usman Bawa Kaltungo, stated that the staff used forged vouchers, withdrew, and shared funds meant for the payment of pensions and gratuities to primary school teachers in the state.
According to him, the money were withdrawn in trenches.
According to Kaltungo, who claims to have acted on a petition brought to them by one of the affected pensioners, the Director of Finance withdrew N83.2 million from their Polaris bank account between January 17, 2017 and March 17, 2020.
He says during the same period, Haliru and Kabiru withdrew 203,217,770.71 and 266,567,053 from the same account in the name of pensioners,” he said
Despite the large withdrawal of these funds, an EFCC official told our correspondent that they were unable to recover anything from the accused.
He claims that they suspect the withdrawal may have been done for some top government officials, but he refuses to name them for the time being.
Meanwhile, a retired teacher in Sokoto state was surprised to learn that his gratuity had been diverted by a member of the Sokoto Primary Teachers Pension Board’s administrative staff.
The former teacher was one of the people summoned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC Sokoto )’s zonal office for questioning in connection with the alleged diversion of N553.9 million by the board’s staff.
When shown a voucher produced in his name and money gathered without his knowledge, the clearly enraged ex-teacher grew enraged and began sobbing hysterically.
He demanded to know who did that to him so that he could kill him even if doing that would lead to his death too.
He says he find it difficult to feed his family because of poverty as this is his last hope yet some persons could do this to him.
He claims that he is unable to feed his family due to poverty, and that this is his final hope, but that others may harm him.