By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
About 300 retrenched workers of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, have accused some members of the management of fraud claiming that since 2007 they were pre-maturely retired, some unknown members of management have been collecting their salaries.
But the Chief Medical Director of the UCTH, Dr. Thomas Agan has described the allegation as false and baseless.
The affected workers have petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister for Health, alleging they were wrongfully severed from the service of the UCTH to enable some persons embezzle their salaries for the remaining years, till when they will be due for retirement.
Writing under the auspices of “Unlawfully Severed workers Forum”, the forum which has Mr. Okon Obot Idung as chairman and Ukpong Patrick Edet as secretary, said they were not dully retired and neither queried nor officially sacked.
Idung claimed that since four years their appointments were terminated, they have not been paid any gratuity, salary or pension; even as some of them said that they were recently written by the ministry of health to start preparing to face life after retirement as would soon be due for retirement.
With the alleged notification letter from the ministry, the workers said that investigations have revealed to them that they were still in the monthly pay roll of the hospital, with some persons at the UCTH top hierarchy allegedly impersonating them by signing forged signatures and collecting their monthly salaries.
He said, “information still available to us from our Pension Administrators, shows our salaries and allowances are still running till date, that is why the remittance of the percent deductions for our pension are still being made to them till date.”
According to them, this was evidenced in the letters sent to them quarterly, as Pension Funds Administrators Limited were said to have continued to intimate them about the monthly cuts for their pension.
While the authorities of the UCTH claimed that Government had stopped their salaries since 2007 when they were severed, members of the Forum expressed surprise that the pension funds administrators were still deducting money from their monthly salaries.
They called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, to wade into the matter and unravel the perpetrators of the alleged fraud, saying that they should be compelled to account for the money.