The Oyo State government has uncovered a pension fraud in its Local Government Service Pensions Board totaling the sum of N2, 608, 398, 709. 29.
Making this disclosure today in his office was Chief Lasisi Ayankojo, Chairman of the board and the Local Government Service Commission.
According to him, the interim investigative report of the commission into the account of the board between September 2010 and March, 2011, which unearthed the colossal fraud, had indicted ten civil servants (names withheld) who were allegedly involved in the scam.
Ayankojo said eight of the alleged perpetrators of the fraud were at present being detained by the police while two of them had absconded.
He said that upon the receipt of the report of the committee, the board met the state governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, who ordered that the board should get to the roots of the scam immediately.
Delving into the mode of the perpetration of the fraud, Ayankojo disclosed that the board discovered this fraud aftermath of complaints by local government workers and teacher retirees who claimed that their pensions had not been paid to them by government.
He said that upon the receipt of the complaints, the board set up a committee to look into the details of the retirees’ grouses, stating that the committee, in the process of its work, found out that monies were indeed collected by civil servant intermediaries working in the commission and never remitted to the pensioners.
Revealing how these anomalies came into being, Ayankojo said that the total amount of the money involved in the scam was collected via issuance of cheques to the affected civil servants in their own personal names, rather than through e-payment into the accounts of pensioners, a situation he said made the fraud to sail through easily.
Giving a detailed account of how the suspects allegedly stole the state money earmarked for pensioners, Ayankojo said the then Executive Secretary and Director, Finance and Administration of the board, between September, 2010 and November 2010 withdrew by cash the sum of N680,430,646.69 from the Local Government Staff Account meant for pensioners, while these same two individuals withdrew the sum of N1,353,868,062.60 from the Teachers Account of the board.
Ayankojo also said that the two officers of the board, alongside seven other top civil servants of the board equally collected the sum of N173,800,000 from the pensioners’ accounts between September 2010 and March 2011.
He alleged that another staff of the account department of the board (names withheld), at various times within the period, personally withdrew the sum of N401, 300, 000 of the board’s money earmarked for pensioners.
According to Ayankojo, while they were being interrogated by the police, the suspects claimed that they collected the cheques of the amount stolen from the Executive Secretary who is currently at large and after cashing the cheque, returned the money to the Secretary.
Ayankojo said that the state government had no option but to invite the police to get into the root of the matter so as to conform with the administration’s abidance with due process and accountability.