The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has prevailed on the Abia State Local Government Pensions Board to pay a widow, Mrs. Beatrice Ironkwe, the sum of N400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira ), which was part of her husband’s pension entitlements that was fraudulently claimed from a bank by some unknown persons.
This was made known to the public in a press briefing at the ICPC Enugu Zonal Office by the Zonal Commissioner, Prince Hassan Mohammed.
He explained that the widow, Mrs. Ironkwe, had petitioned the Commission through her lawyer, Mr. Ulonnam Ochulo on the fraudulent claim of part of her late husband’s gratuity, Mr Ironkwe G. Okemakolam, who was a staff of the Civil Service of Abia State Government under the Ikwuano Local Government Education Authority. She alleged that she was defrauded after her signature was used to withdraw the amount through a cheque that was issued by the Abia State Pensions Board.
Prince Mohammed added that the woman narrated to the Commission how on 11th February 2014, her attention was drawn by the cashier of the Board, Mr. Iruke Chukwu to a fraudulent payment of N400, 000 purported to have been made to her which she had not signed for nor received as the signature showed to her was not hers and the payment was not endorsed on the authorization paper as was the routine.
The Zonal Commissioner, while presenting the cheque to the widow in the presence of her lawyer; the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Abia State, Dr. O. C. Arungwa; the press; and some ICPC investigators, said ICPC immediately swung into action upon receiving the petition and discovered after investigation that the bank involved could not produce strong evidence of the identity of the person that had collected the money, a development that made the Commission to convince the Abia State Pensions Board to issue another N400,000 cheque to Mrs. Ironkwe.
Prince Mohammed declared that ICPC was ever ready and determined to wage a successful war against corruption. He encouraged Nigerians to always report incidents of corruption to ICPC, assuring them of speedy and prompt action. He then commended the Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta for his support and guidance during the investigation of the petition, stating that the Chairman was behind the success of the case.
In an interview after receiving the cheque, Mrs. Ironkwe expressed her deep sense of gratitude to ICPC for their prompt action in helping her recover her late husband’s death benefits which would help her to train her children. She called on other Nigerians who have such issues to report to ICPC, stressing that the Commission would take up their case and solve their problems.
Similarly, Mr. Ulonnam Ochulo, counsel to the petitioner, extolled ICPC for swiftly investigating and resolving the case in favour of the widow and appealed to the Commission to keep up with the good work.
In his own contribution, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Abia State, also praised ICPC for coming to the help of the poor widow. He described ICPC as ‘the hope of oppressed Nigerians’.