Sometimes, when an individual wants to defend fraud, he finds a reason to justify his deeds.

This particular case of diversion of pensioners’ funds in Kogi is one of such.

Pensioners in Kogi State have suffered so much, with most of them owed months of outstanding allowances.

Their funds have been diverted and this was discovered by the state government, which subsequently took appropriate action.

It resulted in the sack of some government officials and the Kogi State government is revealing more on the issue.

A Director in the state’s civil service, Alphonsus Ameh, who was one of the sacked persons, said he thought the money he received was his share of a Christmas bonus.

His statement whips up questions about whether he has been receiving such huge Christmas bonus before.

The revelation comes days after the man died.

On Thursday, the government said the late man was sacked due to alleged involvement in the fraudulent diversion of 225.936 million Naira pensioners’ fund.

The deceased, who was in the state Pension Board, died on Monday at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, few days after allegedly receiving his sack letter.

A spokesman for the Governor Governor, Petra Onyegbule, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lokoja that the late Ameh and four others in the State Pension Board were sacked.

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According to Onyegbule, a nine-man Senior Management Committee was set up by the State Government, which had Aiyedero Jethro, the Acting Permanent Secretary as Chairman, and John Ekele, the Acting Director of Finance as the Secretary, for fair hearing.

She added that an emergency meeting of the committee was held on May 4, 2017, which drew the attention of the members to the report from the State Intelligence Bureau and the review of the same by State Auditor-General, Yusuf Okala.

She said that the report is on a case of misappropriation of Pensioners’ fund, forwarded to the office of the Head of Civil Service by the Secretary to the State Government where the governor had directed that immediate action be taken appropriately.

“In the report, the auditor-general recommended the immediate dismissal of all civil servants indicted in the police report.

“Based on the personal confession by Mr Alphonsus Ameh to the State Intelligence Bureau and that he (Ameh) has commenced repayment, attested to the fact that he actually committed the fraud.

“The late Ameh confirmed to the committee that he received a sum of 2 million Naira as his own share of the looted pensioners’ fund, which he thought was a Christmas bonus.

“Ameh also confirmed that he had refunded part of the money, and pleaded that the committee should temper justice with mercy, considering the numbers of years he had spent in the service.

“The committee said that since Ameh affirmed his participation in the sharing of the misappropriated fund, coupled with the fact that he (Ameh) had commenced refunding part of the money, confirmed that he was guilty of the offence.

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“The committee added that Ameh had violated the Public Service Rule (PSR) No. 4, section 04401 No. VIII, XI and XII, liable to dismissal from the Service, and therefore, recommended that the punishment stipulated by the PSR should be upheld as a deterrent to other civil servants.

“It is on the recommendation of the committee that Mr Aphonsus Yahaya Ameh, and four others were sacked in June 2017, because a case of criminal conspiracy and theft was established against them,” Onyegbule said.

The dismissed man took ill days after his dismissal letter was handed to him and he died on Monday. 

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