How Railway staff embezzled N1.5bn pension fund
Over N1.5 billion pension benefits of the Nigerian Railway Corporation retirees was stolen by some staff of the corporation from 2011-2013, investigations have revealed.
Copy of a report on NRC management enquiry into the handling of the its pension, obtained by Daily Trust revealed that the monies were siphoned through unauthorized disbursement to staff to the tune of N884 million, contract award to the tune of N251 million and capital investment of N400 million.
This brings the total to the embezzled pension funds to N1.5 billion.
Investigation into the missing funds was instituted following a verbal report brought to the attention of the Managing Director of the NRC Engr. Adeseyi Sijuade by the Director (Finance) Mr. C. Chukwu, Daily Trust gathered.
Mr. Chukwu accused the AD (Pensions) Mr. E.N Igbe of misappropriating funds in the Pension Unit in December last year. A committee was then set up by the MD to investigate the management of the Pension Fund from 2011 to 2013.
Findings from the interim report submitted to the NRC management on 28th February 2014 revealed huge misappropriation through issuance of contracts without due process, disbursement of unauthorized funds to staff and illegal transfer of funds to various accounts.
The management committee’s interim report took a dramatic dimension when findings of the interim report showed that even some members of the committee were allegedly involved in the fraud.
It was subsequently disbanded and a fresh one constituted led by the Senior Staff Committee for Appointment, Promotion and Discipline.
Ten staff in the pension Unit were indicted for various degrees of culpability in the stolen funds. Among them is Mr. E.N Igbe (AD Finance), who was the AD Pension between 2011 to 2013. He was queried and charged with suppressing records, bribing public officers, corruption, embezzling of public funds.
However, Mr. Celetine Chukwu, the Deputy Director, Finance who was the former Acting Director Finance was charged with negligence in the performance of his duties and his failure to safeguard railway fund.
According to the report, seen by Daily Trust, responses from the indicted staff were received and reviewed along with the outcome of previous interview sessions also held with the indicted persons.
The committee further made varying degree of punishment ranging from summary dismissal, refunds and withheld promotion to staff indicted.