EFCC Detains Two Officials Of Abia Ministry Of Finance
Two senior officials of the Abia State Ministry of Finance are currently under detention at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for an alleged financial corruption and abuse of office.
Three other workers in the ministry are also expected to report to the office of the anti-graft agency to answer questions concerning the fraud.
The suspected officials were arrested following a petition by a Commissioner in the State Civil Service Commission, Mr. Guy Okite.
Okite had alleged in the petition that one Mrs Charity Ukonu, a staff of the payroll department of the state Ministry of Finance, was for three years paying him 30 per cent of his legitimate salary.
He stated that he involved the anti-graft agency because all administrative procedure taken to make her pay him yielded no positive result.
The petition read in part, “In trying to carry out this legitimate duty charged on me by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and upon receiving several complaints from various civil servants against one Mrs. Charity Ukonu of the Audit Department of the Abia State Civil Service who uses her office as a member of a purported State Salary Enhancement and Audit Committee to defraud, embezzle and to steal monies from the State/Public funds designated for salaries.
“This she does by making spurious inclusions to salaries of her proxies and cronies who make returns of the surplus of the salaries to her. Mrs Ukonu’s pays herself and receives double and/or multiple salaries from Abia State Government in various ministries and departments.”
The petition showed evidence of multiple salaries for Ukonu and some of her cronies with bank details, the ministries and departments, amount and month involved.
“On the same 09/06/2016, Mrs. Charity Ukonu as a civil servant received a huge and questionable sum of N 2,050,000.00 (Two million and fifty thousand naira) from some person who I guess is her ally in the government as her share of their loot and another sum of N 5,000,000.00(five million naira) both huge sums in her Sterling Bank Account No. 0020634826.
“It may please you and also interest you to know that the said Charity Ukonu is but a mere civil servant on Salary Grade Level (SGL) 14 whose monthly take-home pay is about N 80,000.00.
“I attach herewith a copy of query as Exhibit A from the office of The Auditor General of the State on why Ukonu and cohorts are making such unauthorised inclusions and padding of certain persons’ salaries to the tune that becomes more than 100 per cent the due salary.”
A careful perusal on the said Exhibit A No. 25 reveals that Charity payrolls herself and receives N 180,089.00 as gross while the gross due is N 80,089.00.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. John Kalu, has said the government position on such issues had always been transparency and that the government would not shield any official found culpable.