By Laleye Dipo in Minna
A committee set up by the Niger State government to investigate the multi-million naira pension scam in the state civil service has indicted a permanent secretary, a director general and 28 other members of staff.
Others indicted included an accountant, a cashier, an internal auditor and a messenger.
According to THISDAY findings, the committee turned in its reports to the state Civil Service Commission (CSC) with a recommendation that punitive measures be taken against the indicted since “it is the commission that has the legal instrument to punish erring workers”.
THISDAY gathered that the CSC, which met for several weeks late last year, had apart from upholding the report of the committee, begun the implementation of the recommendations.
It was learnt that as at last week, not less than N200 million had been recovered from the indicted government officials, while the N100 million traced to the account of the messenger described as the “go-between” between the indicted officials and other members of the syndicate had been frozen.
“We decided to freeze the account to complete investigation into how the messenger came about this huge amount of money” an official privy to the investigation told THISDAY.
Also, some buildings and vehicles believed to be proceeds of the scam have been seized.
It was also learnt that the CSC had issued letters of dismissal to three members of the syndicate, 13 were compulsorily retired, eight had been demoted, three had been warned, while another member of staff involved in the scam had been “advised to be cautious in receiving gifts” which was what connected him to the crime.
The findings also showed that the state head of service had been directed to prosecute all that were yet to refund their share of the looted pension fund.
When contacted, the Chairman of the CSC, Alhaji Shehu Galadima, confirmed the story, saying: “We have started implementing the report.”
Galadima said all the actions taken by the commission would be gazetted and sold to the public.
According to him, only the CSC has the power to pardon any of those indicted, adding: “There is no tribal or ethnic interest in what we have done.”