Pension Scam: ICPC Arrests Junior Staff Who Operates 50 Accounts
As Nigeria owes N13bn in diplomatic debts Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr.
Ekpo Nta, Tuesday disclosed that a corrupt official with the Pension Office who operates 50 bank accounts and have 18 landed property has been arrested.
The ICPC boss said the pension official, though a junior staff, was able to operate the 50 bank accounts successfully, explaining that the embattled officer kept a diary containing the different bank accounts, the names allocated to each of the accounts and their signatures for easy transactions.
Nta, who was speaking at the 2014 budget defence of his agency at the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, National Ethics and Values, noted that because attention was centred on senior officers; the junior officer was carrying on with his nefarious activities without notice.
According to him, the intervention of the commission in the Pension Funds office was very beneficial to the government as it was able to reduce its accounts that were scattered in 40 banks to only four banks while the agency also recovered over N469.
325million being the accrued interest discovered in the pension accounts and paid the same amount to the sub-treasury of the Federation He said through the ICPC's intervention and review of the 2012 Personnel Cost budget performance in 234 ministries, departments and agencies, (MDAs), over N9billion unspent balance was returned to the treasury in 2013 while over N24.
75billion being irregular payments to MDAs were also recovered and paid to the treasury According to him, the ICPC also discovered N1.
2billion stock in the accounts of four MDAs based on court orders, stressing that the amounts were yet to be remitted to the Federation Account due to litigation.
Nta listed the MDAs involved in the illegal act and amounts to include Irrua Specialist Hospital(N450.
2m),Federal Medical Centre Makurdi (N1,222,681.
50),Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC,(N107.
9m)and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (N621m).
He said the Commission also seized 372 international passports upon its investigation of Visa Scams, fake note and accompanying documents and that 36 suspects were arrested in connection with the scam The ICPC boss also revealed that an agency of the Federal Government was discovered to have put the N4billion being the personnel cost of the agency for the year in a fixed deposit account, saying the head of the agency was being investigated while 62 houses and plots of land were seized from an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), who defrauded members of the public through a non-existent housing scheme.
Responding, chairman of the committee, Hon.
Abiodun Faleke, declared that the Commission should expedite action in charging government officials found to have involved in corrupt practices so as to serve as deterrents to others and to sanitise the system.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Federal Government is owning various international organisations over N13 billion.
The supervising Minister of the ministry, Professor Viola Onwuliri, who disclosed this on Tuesday, lamented that it was embarrassing that the country has always defaulted in the payment of diplomatic levies to all the diplomatic bodies Nigerian belongs to as a member country.
Earlier, the minister told the committee that out of the N13.
3billion approved by the president and appropriated for payment in 2012 which constituted part of the headquarters' 2013 capital budget, only N10.
4 billion representing 80 percent of the appropriation was released; leaving the balance of N2.
5 billion unreleased as at 31st December, 2013.
On the 2014 appropriation, she said a total of N46.
595 billion covering all five agencies under the ministry as well as the 119 foreign missions with regards to their capital, personnel and overhead costs was required.
In breaking it down further, she said there is a sharp reduction in the ministry's (headquarters and agencies) overhead budget proposals which stands at N5.
3 billion as against the 2013 approved budget of N6.
4 billion which the minister insisted was grossly inadequate to meet the key activities of the Ministry in 2014.
The Committee urged the ministry to make efforts at bringing heads of missions to defend their budget subsequently since implementation of missions' capital and recurrent expenditure has never SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA