By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ilorin Zonal Office has quizzed Secretary to the State Governmentof Kwara State, Alhaji Sola Isiaka Gold, and the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Mrs. Kperogi Halimat Jummai, over alleged payment of severance package totalling N400m to state lawmakers and some members of the state executive council before the expiration of their tenure.
The quizzing of the state senior officers by the anti-graft body was based on the fact that, the payment did not follow a due process.
It was gathered that all the 24 lawmakers and some members of the state executive council two weeks ago received about N400m as severance package before the expiration of their tenure despite the fact that the state is owning her workers about three months salaries.
The petitioner said even though the lawmakers and members of the state executive council are entitled to severance payment, it is the next administration that was supposed to pay the money.
He alleged that the state government quickly paid the money before the expiration of thier tenure.
More worrisome was the issue of furniture allowance running into N100m, according to the petitioner, which they wanted paid along with severance entitlements.
In a letter written by the Speaker, State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmed, to the state governor, it was confirmed that the lawmakers were entitled to severance gratuity at the end of their tenure due to terminate on the 7th of June, 2019 .
The letter said further “In accordance with the provisions of the revenue mobilization, allocation and fiscal Commission ( RMAFC) honourable members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of Office”.
The Clerk of the house, Mrs. Halimat Jummai Kperogi, who confirmed that the lawmakers had received their severance gruituity told the operatives of the EFCC that the payment was approved by the State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Kperogi said “In a meeting of the Principal Officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I am scheduled to be the Secretary, held on 8th of May 2019, Issue of Severance Gratuity to the Honourable Members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the State Governor has approved the payment of the Severance Gratuity.
“At the meeting, I informed the house that his excellency had apptoved the payment, adding that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of Office. The house debated it and they overruled me”
The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji.Gold on the other hand wrote and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about three hundred million naira of some members of the State Executive Council.
Gold, in a letter to the governor dated 8th of May 2019 said “Your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara State remuneration of political and Public Office holders law, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon successful completion of tenure.”
According to the SSG, while the lawmakers have received their monies, members of the State Executive Council are yet to receive their gratuity.