The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Sokoto Zonal Office, has arraigned five management staff of the state Primary Staff Pension Board for allegedly diverting N553.985,644.
The staff were arraigned before the Sokoto High Court on 28 counts bordering on forgery, criminal breach of trust, and misappropriation, 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.
The money was meant for the payment of gratuities and pensions of retired teachers.
Those arraigned are Abubakar Aliyu, Hassana Moyi, Haliru Ahmad, Kabiru Ahmad and Dahiru Muhammad Isa, who were Secretary, Director of Finance and Supply, Deputy Director of Finance and Supply, Accountant and Cashier of the board, respectively.
The agency said after interrogation, it could not recover anything tangible or commensurate to the diverted amount from the suspects.
The Zonal Head of the EFCC, Usman Bawa Kaltungo, said, “The arraigned staff used forged vouchers, withdrew and shared money meant for the payment of pensions and gratuities of primary school teachers in the state.
“We acted on a petition brought to us by one of the affected pensioners. Thereafter, 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.
“The money was withdrawn in trenches. Between January 17, 2017 and March 2020, the director of finance withdrew the sum of N83.2m from their account with Polaris Bank.
“During the same period, Haliru and Kabiru withdrew N203,217,770.71 and N266,567,053, respectively, from the same account in the name of pensioners.”
The case was adjourned till June 28, 2021 for continuation of trial.