Imo Governor Hope Uzodinma has announced eight persons fraudulently receiving N330 million annually as pension.
The Governor said the indicted persons who received their pensions annually are: Ajokubi H. A (N65,685,491. 00); Njoku Damian (N5,042,439.58); Obasi Canice (N3,460,366.64); Anyanwu F. N (N150,336.00); Emenalo Theresa (N3,058,592.00); John Sunday (N2,320624.00) and Ajaegbo E. O (N2, 298,910.34).
Uzodinma said the eight persons were earning N330 million annually as pension.
He said a retired judge was earning N300,000 monthly above what was due to him as pension and a late Secretary to the State Government (SSG) was still earning pension many years after his death.
The Governor made the announcement at a meeting with the leadership of organised labour comprising the Nigerian labour Congress (NLC), the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at Government House.
Uzodinma revealed that so much irregularities had marred the pension system, forcing him to investigate further into the payroll of retired workers where it was discovered that over 1000 pensioners who retired in 1976 were still receiving pension.
He noted that over inflated pensions were paid to numerous pensioners, which on investigation was not consistent with their last pay slips or basic salaries as stipulated by the Pensions Act.
According to him, the decision to automate the payment process was in line with the new World Bank order for all states and pointed out the delay was due to the fact that there was no handover from the former administration.
However, he disclosed that all verified pensioners and government workers in the state, including teachers have been paid their pension and salaries up to June, adding that those who had issues with their data would have to resolve them before they can receive payment.
He explained that the delay in payment of some few months of pensions was caused by the monumental fraud discovered in the pension payroll which caused a pause in payments to enable the government cleanse the system.
The Governor said he will not be party to denying senior citizens who spend a better part of their lives working for the state their legitimate rights to pensions but added that it was necessary to also secure the future of the senior citizens by stopping a few criminals from defrauding the state of millions of Naira in the name of the Pensioners.
Uzodinma declared that by next week the names of all the persons milking the state through pensions and salary payroll fraud would be made public.
In their separate remarks the NLC and NUP chairmen, Comrade Austin Chilakpu and Sir JB Ugochukwu respectively appreciated the open door policy of the Governor and tendered apology for the protests by some members of the union while dialogue and negotiation was ongoing.
They expressed total support and cooperation with the government to achieve all its aspirations to take the state higher. (The Nation)