The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested and arraigned five officials of the Sokoto state government for allegedly stealing N553.985,644.1.
The arraigned officials are members of the state Primary Staff Pension Board.
The money was meant for the payment of retired teachers’ gratuities and pension.
The staff include, Abubakar Aliyu, Hassana Moyi, Haliru Ahmad, Kabiru Ahmad and Dahiru Muhammad Isa who are Secretary, Director of Finance and Supply, deputy Director of Finance and Supply, Accountant and Cashier of the board respectively.
The staff were arraigned before the Sokoto High Court on 28 count-charge bordering on forgery, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation, which were contrary to sections 92 (2), 311, of the Penal Code law CAP 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria and Sections 351, 353, 348 of the Sokoto Penal Code law 2019.
Explaining more about the case, the Zonal Head of EFCC, Usman Bawa Kaltungo, said the staff used forged vouchers, withdrew and shared monies meant for pension and gratuities of primary school teachers in the state.
According to him, the money was withdrawn in tranches.
Kaltungo, who said they acted on a petition brought to them by one of the affected pensioners, said between January 17, 2017 and March, 2020, the Director of Finance withdrew the sum of N83.2 million from their account with Polaris Bank.
“During the same period, Haliru and Kabiru withdrew 203,217,770.71 and 266,567,053 respectively from the same account in the name of pensioners,” he said
“We had to pay for the transport fares of some of the pensioners before they could come and testify and they were shocked to find out that their long awaited pensions and gratuities had been diverted.”
Another EFCC official told our reporter that, “With all these money that they had withdrawn, we could not recover anything from them. This is why we are suspecting they were withdrawing for some top government functionaries which they refused to disclose to us.”
However, Kaltungo hoped that the court would do justice.
The case was adjourned till June, 28 for the continuation of trial.