BY OLA AJAYI
IBADAN—PENSIONERS in Oyo State are complaining bitterly about perceive government’s silence on alleged mismanagement of of pension fund running into N2.6billion.
The money was said to have been mismanaged in the Local Government Pension Board in the state.
The fraud was reportedly committed between September 2010 and January 2011 and was discovered by Alhaji Lasisi Ayankojo, Chairman of the board.
Vanguard gathered that N2, 608,398,707:42 was allegedly withdrawn from the pension’s board’s accounts within five months by some officials of the board.
The Chairman of the pensioners who were retired between 2011 and 2012, Mr. Remi Babatunde, while conveying the displeasure of his members, said, “No fewer than 10 of us had died as a result of hunger during the long wait. Our money had been stolen, this leaves us with nothing. About 1,000 of us who retired between 2011 and 2012 were affected.
“It is only today that the state government paid us one month of our pension arrears so as to mitigate our suffering.”
A police report on the alleged fraud states “In the course of investigation, both cash books and payment vouchers that covered the period of transactions were called for and it was revealed that the sum of N4.03bn was illegally collected from the state government through the records in the cash book between September 2010 and January 2011.”
”The complainant and one other witness volunteered their statements while the statements of the 10 suspects were recorded voluntarily after they were formally charged. However, no incriminating items were found when searches were conducted in suspects’ houses and premises”.
”The suspects claimed that N2,608,398,702:42 was withdrawn in line with the directive from the former governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, to pay the pensioners. However, the officials could not produce the circular ordering the payment”.
Ayankojo, the chairman of the board, assured that the suspects would soon be prosecuted adding, “I realised that sum of N5,419,000,820:74 had been mismanaged. The fraud took place within five months.
Having discovered some discrepancies I queried the secretary of the board. The governor ordered that a committee be constituted and at the end of the investigation we discovered that of the N5.4bn, N2.6bn withdrawn in cash cannot be accounted for, he said.