BY VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA – A SUB-treasurer attached to Aguata local government council of Anambra State, Mr. Innocent Ezeonwuka, has allegedly embezzled N66.52m pension fund meant for the payment of retired workers in the area.
The money was remitted to the council’s treasury, but suddenly disappeared leading to non-payment of pensioners.
Government had earlier released the fund for payment of gratuities to the retirees covering the period June, 2009 to June, 2011.
But following complaints and petitions by pensioners in the area over non-payment of their gratuity while others were receiving theirs, it was discovered that the money was misappropriated.
According to the report of an investigation panel, the laid down procedure was that at the end of every month, a list containing names of retirees to be paid their gratuities with corresponding funds are sent to the sub-treasuries for implementation, with general instruction to sub-treasurers to paste the names of benefiting pensioners at a conspicuous location in the sub-treasury for the pensioners to take note of remittance of funds for their gratuities.
It was gathered that instead of following the laid down instruction, the sub-treasurer allegedly hid the information from the pensioners.
Vanguard was also informed that when the sub-treasurer was confronted, he blamed his action on the devil, saying he was hypnotized to part with the huge amount of money.
Accountant General of the state, Mr. R.H.C. Ogbogu, confirmed the incident, saying his office was taking necessary action on the matter.
Vanguard recalls that Governor Obi had been paying arrears of accumulated pensions since he assumed office in 2006, such that it currently takes only about three months for retired workers to get their benefits
Obi’s senior special assistant on communication, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubabuko, who commented on the issue, said it was unfortunate that somebody would want to disrupt this harmony by embezzling the money meant for pensioners.