The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday made good it’s promise to systematically cleanse the corruption-ridden pension sector.
In a major breakthrough, a cartel master-minded by one Mr. Abiodun Osagie, his wife Mrs. Regina Osagie and Mr. Oladimeji Bello all of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHSF) were yesterday dragged before FCT Abuja High Court No. 6 for allegedly diverting pension funds into private accounts using various banks and fake identities in violation of the provisions of the ICPC Act 2000.
Mr. Abiodun Osagie is currently with the Police Service Commission while the wife is now with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Mr. Oladimeji Bello is still with the OHSF and was part of the Pensions Management Committee set up after the dissolution of the Maina-led Pensions Reform Task Team (PRTT) and allegedly abused his office by re-inserting the ghost names into the pension list.
Also listed for arraignment is Mr. Abiodun Osagie’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Philomena Ayodele, a 42 year old housewife and a pure-water seller who has been enjoying pension for six years without having served for one day in the Federal Civil Service.
Mrs. Ayodele was arrested on19 July 2013 at Keystone Bank, Mararaba Branch while trying to withdraw her monthly ‘pension’.
In her statement she was alleged to have confessed that it was Mr. Abiodun Osagie who approached her and requested for her bank account details in order to enable them pay monthly pensions into her account.
She alleged that she had been collecting the pension money from her account and the proceeds were usually shared by them.
The arraignment of the suspects marks the end of a nine-month undercover investigation by ICPC of corrupt practices in the Pensions Department of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
In the course of the investigation, the ICPC team visited the residence of Mr. Osagie and a list containing several names and account numbers in banks was retrieved.
These accounts were opened with fictitious names and had as beneficiaries Mr. Osagie’s wife Mrs. Regina Osagie, his sister-in-law Mrs. Ayodele and other relatives.
The ICPC detectives also discovered that all these accounts had pensions funds credited into them on a monthly basis since 2008 until their arrests in 2013.
The payments were done in such a way as not to attract attention but the Special squad set up in the Financial Investigations Unit under the direct supervision of ICPC Chairman, was able to piece the puzzle into a meaningful pattern that exposed the perpetrators through deductive investigations.
Before pensions management was moved to the Pensions Transitions Administration Department (PETAD), a review of the pension processes in the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation ordered by ICPC had started yielding very positive results following the full support of the immediate past and current Heads of Service.
The court has listed the case for hearing on 6 November 2014.
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