How Rail­way staff em­bez­zled N1.5bn pen­sion fund

Daily Trust - - NEWS - Bomb ex­perts ex­am­in­ing the Abuja blast scene at Nyanya, Abuja on Mon­day evening. IKECHUKWU IBE By Daniel Adugbo

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.

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