- Category: Corruption
- Published on Friday, 20 April 2012 16:18
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 477
THE Federal Government, on Thursday, approved the suspension of the permanent secretary in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Atiku Abubakar Kigo and four others charged to court for alleged conspiracy and diversion the sum of N32.8 billion from the police pension fund.
Other officers involved in scandal are Ahmed Inuwa Wada (Director); John Yakubu Yusuf (Assistant Director); Veronica Onyegbula (Cashier) and Sani Habila Zira (ICT Officer).
The statement entitled, “The Federal Civil Service Commission approves suspension of civil servants charged to court on police pension matter,” said the suspension was with effect from March 29, 2012.
It said: “The Federal Civil Service Commission has approved that the five serving federal civil servants recently charged to court in connection with involvement in alleged fraudulent practices at the Police Pension Office be suspended from office with effect from March 29, 2012.”
The Senate Joint Committee on the Investigation into the administration of the pension scheme had, during its one week of public hearing, received evidence on how civil servants falsified documents to siphon pensioners’ money.
The affected officers were arrested and are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at an Abuja High Court.
Kigo and four others, who are standing trial on a 16-count charge of conspiracy and criminal breach of trust in respect to N32.8 billion police pension scam were, however, granted bail by the court.
The presiding judge, Justice Abubakar Talba, in his ruling, said the law presumes any accused innocent until proven otherwise and that before the contrary is proven, the accused have the right to breathe the air of freedom.
The judge also added that by bringing the case to court, the EFCC had shown that it had finished investigations, as such the issue of interference did not arise. He, therefore, granted them bail.
He granted the accused bail in the sum of N10 million each, two sureties each, one of whom must be a civil servant of not lower than grade level 14.
He also ruled that the sureties must be residents of the Federal Capital Territory. The sureties are to swear to an affidavit of means that would be verified by the EFCC.
Meanwhile, the EFCC, on Thursday, said the Senate committee probing the alleged pension fraud gave it a week to submit its investigative report, denying that it had been sacked by the committee from probing the case.
In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission also denied that the Senate committee ordered the probe of its former chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri and the incumbent, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, over allegations that they participated in the sharing of the alleged pension loot.
EFCC noted that the money allegedly paid to the duo had been discovered by the committee to have ended with Mr John Yusuf, an assistant director in the Police Pensions Office; a member of the Maina-led Pension Task Team.
“The commission wishes to state that, at no time did the Senate committee or the Senate as a whole order the police to probe the chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde and his predecessor, Mrs Farida Waziri. Neither did it request the EFCC to hands off pension matters. Reports to the contrary may have been promoted by interests to achieve certain nefarious ends,” the statement read.