The Imo State Government has handed over about thirty Pension Board staff to the Personnel of Directorate of Security Services (DSS) over monumental fraud dictated in pension cheques amounting to N650 million naira.A statement signed by Sam Onwuemeodo, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, said the Cheques in question are 92 with some of them Containing N10 million and above.
"And most of the fake Cheques were written in the names of people who are not Pensioners or who do not exist while some are written in the names of existing Pensioners who then had three Cheques or more but only one having the actual amount they ought to have as their Pensions while the fake Cheques in their names have amounts ranging from N10 million and above"
Meanwhile, the government on Monday, August 28, 2017 began to pay the Pensioners one hundred (100) Percent of their outstanding Pension arrears with Pensioners from eight Local Governments including Nkwerre, Ideato South, Njaba, Nwangele, Isu, Obowo, Onuimo and Orsu being paid that Monday at the Imo International Convention Centre (IICC) Owerri.
The government decided to pay directly to the Pensioners following the discovery of the mind-blowing fraud in the Pension Cheques.
Before now, the governor had raised alarm over the steady rise in Pension bills in the State on monthly basis with the last bill being N1.59 billion and had done verification upon verification to find out where the problems lies but all to no avail.
But as God would have it, after writing the Cheques for the Payment of the outstanding Pension arrears this time, Okorocha demanded for the whole Cheques written for that Purpose, and for days, he was personally going through the Cheques with some trusted aides and the discoveries were shocking.
It was discovered that one person could have three or four Cheques written in his or her name and most of the names non-Pensioners and the amounts in the Cheques all in millions, prompting the governor to summon a meeting after a preliminary investigation with the key Pension Board Staff in attendance, and Pensioners from the 8 designated Local Governments for payment.
Before handing over the suspected Pension Board Staff to Security agents, the governor said the blood of pensioners who had died without their Pensions would be on their heads, revealing that some of the Senior Pension Board Staff involved have hotels in Owerri, Aba and Delta State, while two of them have housing estates, and said they would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The governor also warned that any government official found to have a hand in the fraud would also be made to face the music, adding that he could now have a sigh of relief having discovered the factor behind the worrisome rise in Pension bills every month.