Pension Funds Scandal - Bank Manager’s Mother-In-Law, Youth Corps Member Share N53.8m

•EFCC seizes N500m, $2m in ex-pension director’s company’s accounts



Sordid details of how the sum of N4.5 billion allegedly stolen by suspended directors in the Pension Unit, Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, was distributed to close relations, including the mother-in-law of a bank manager, are now in possession of a Federal High Court, Abuja.

Several banks are cited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as collaborators in the scandal.

The bank manager’s mother-in-law was allegedly paid N18,907,100.00 from September 18, 2009 to February 11, 2010 (five months) as pension and gratuity, while one Miss Chinwe Ezeh, a youth corps member serving in Lagos as at May 2011, was also discovered to have collected N8,539,332.09 from OHCSF.

Another N26.4 million (N13.8 million and N12.6 million respectively) was paid in two tranches to the companies of the female corps member.

Directors Sani Teidi Shuaibu and Phina Ukamaka Chidi were suspended on Thursday by the Federal Government.

They had previously served as Director and Deputy Director in the Pensions Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

The EFCC said it has obtained an Interim Forfeiture Order to secure N500 million and $2 million traced to the accounts of Pam Investment Properties Limited, which is linked to Chidi.

In a proof of evidence filed before the court, the EFCC said it interrogated four bank managers–Boniface Jirbo, Ikenna Anoruo, Franklin Okey Nwankwo and Udusegbe Omoefe Eric–who opened the Pandora box.

It listed the means through which funds were looted as follows: use of fictitious names; payment of pensions to non-civil servants at any time; mass award of doubtful contracts; use of Bureaux de change and engagement of companies, relations and friends.

The Proof of Evidence reads in part: “That Boniface Jirbo was arrested and brought to EFCC where he volunteered his statement under caution which was recorded at various times from 20/1/2011 to 24/5/2011. A search warrant was obtained from Magistrate Court of F.C.T. Abuja on 25/11/2010 and was executed at his office, Usuma Street, Maitama Branch on 19/1/2011 (121) where several deposit slips that were used to make deposits into Pam Investment Properties were recovered.

“Also the Mandate file of Pam Investment Ltd was recovered in his office, where it was discovered that the company has both current and Domiciliary Accounts with UBA. From his confessional statement, he confessed to have remitted the total sum of N146,771,252.00 to Mrs. Chidi through Pam Investment Properties account with UBA from the monies fraudulently paid to his companies, while he benefited 5 per cent of the total sum which amounts to N7,338,562.60.

“Boniface also confessed to have used his customers’ companies’ bank accounts–Effect Services Ltd. and J. K Palawinco Nigeria Ltd–to collect the total sum of N116,525,000.00 and N105,100,000.00 respectively for fictitious contracts from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) . According to him (Boniface), the monies were withdrawn and deposited into Pam Investment and Properties account.

“Boniface further confessed to have collected funds from Ikenna Anoruo, Franklin Okey Nwankwo and Emmanuel Olanipekun several times on behalf of Mrs. Phina Chidi and deposited same into Pam Investment Properties Limited account, using fictitious names. He also confessed to have suggested the opening of dollar denominated account for Pam Investment Properties Limited with which to launder the proceeds of the fictitious payments.

“Following the recovery of deposit slips from Boniface Jirbo for the deposits made into Pam Investment Properties Ltd, a letter was sent to UBA Plc requesting for all the relevant documents on the account.

“The letter was sent on 20/01/2011(34) signed by Wakili Mohammed. From the analysis of the response of the Bank on 27/01/2011 signed by two Compliance & OpRisk managers, it was confirmed that Pam Investment Properties has two (2) accounts–a current account. No. 04970030002472 and a domiciliary account No. 04970131001596. The current account was discovered to have a turnover of about N560 million while the domiciliary account had $2,150,000.00.

“From our letter dated 24/5/2011(208),signed by Wakili Mohammed to UBA, and their response of 22/7/2011, signed by two Compliance & OpRisk managers, it was also discovered that the total sum of N500 million and $2 million USD were placed in fixed deposit in the two accounts respectively. The EFCC have obtained an interim forfeiture order to secure the funds.

“Boniface further confessed that Pam Investment Properties accounts were opened by Mrs. Phina Chidi with an elderly woman’s passport photograph while Mrs. Chidi is the sole signatory to the accounts.

“The purported account owner was said to be Cecilia Maduagwuna, which is the same name Mrs. Chidi used in opening her personal account with Wema Bank Plc with her picture and forged driver’s licence on the account opening package. The total sum of N6,900,000.00 was discovered to have been transferred to Maduagwuna Cecilia’s account at Wema Bank Plc from Pam Investment Properties Ltd.”

On Anoruo, the EFCC said: “From a letter sent to Zenith Bank on 10/2/2011(211) & 4/10/2011(46), signed by Wakili Mohammed, following the analysis of the response from the bank on 24/2/2011, signed by John Olorundare and Chamberlain Okezie, it was discovered that his wife, Chioma Odum Anoruo, was paid the total sum of N9,414,350,00 as pension and gratuity from OHCSF, while the sum of N55,525,001.00 was paid to her company, Ossy Integrated Prints, for fictitious contracts and supplies. Chioma Odum Anoruo was invited to the Commission where she came and volunteered her statement under caution, which was recorded from time to time as the need arose from 29/3/2011 to 61412011

“From a letter sent to Zenith Bank on 10/2/2011(211) and 4/10/2011(46) signed by Wakili Mohammed, following the analysis of the response of the bank on 24/2/2011, signed by John Olorundare and Chamberlain Okezie, it was discovered that the mother-in-law, Grace Orieji Awa, was discovered to have fraudulently collected the total sum of N18,907,100.00 from 18th September, 2009 to 11th of February, 2010 (5 months) as pension and gratuity.

“Miss Chinwe Ezeh, who is a youth corper serving in Lagos as at May 2011, was also discovered to have collected the total sum of N8,539,332.09 from OHCSF as pension arrears and gratuity, while the total sum of N13.8 million and N12.6 million were fraudulently paid to her companies, Challyview Enterprises and Chineze Nig Ltd respectively.

“Miss Chinwe Natsha Nweke Ezeh was invited to EFCC where she came and volunteered her statement under caution on 13/4/2011, confessing that Ikenna was the one who used the account for the fraudulent transactions.

On his part, Nwankwo was said to have been introduced to Mrs. Chidi by Boniface Jirbo where he was fraudulently paid the total sum of N49,412,417.88, using two (2) different bank accounts, as pension arrears and gratuity.

It said: “Out of the sum, it was discovered that Ngozi Ikeagota was fraudulently paid the total sum of N42,512,399.35 (N42.5 million) as pension arrears and gratuity from OHCSF, which she transferred the total sum of N39,703,000.00 back to Franklin through his account with USA account No. 00740520125987, while the remaining balance of N2,809,399.35 was left for Ngozi.

“Franklin was invited, where he came and volunteered his statement under caution on17/5/2011, confessing to have collected all the monies remitted to Ngozi Ikeagota and the ones passed through to him to Mrs. Chidi through Mr. Boniface Jibro who was said to have deposited same into Pam Investment Properties Ltd account. The mandates were discovered to have been confirmed by Dr. Sani Shaibu Teidi.’’

Concerning Udusegbe Omoefe Eric, the EFCC said he conspired with Dr. Shaibu and Mrs. Chidi to launder N1,988,312,000. through fictitious companies and ghost pensioners.

The commission added: “From our letter sent to Oceanic Bank Plc dated 18/1/2011, signed by Wakili Mohammed in respect of Gozinda Enterprises, Bashinta Nig. Ltd and Akpotehiri Otega, and following the bank’s response of 26/1/2011, signed by Asmah Salami & Bisi Belio, it was discovered that the sum of N413,400,000.00, N393,000,000.00, N2,340,000.00 respectively was fraudulently paid to the above mentioned accounts from the OHCSF for fictitious contracts and supplies, while Akpotehiri Otega was paid pension arrears and gratuity.

“Two letters sent to Oceanic Bank on 10/5/2011 & 3/5/2011 (79) and 19/5/2011(92), signed by David Iloyanomon and Wakili Mohammed respectively, which they responded to on 12/5/2011 and 20/5/2011 by two authorized signatories of the bank, revealed that the total sum of N384,162,000.00, N364,900,000.00 and N396,130,000.00 were fraudulently paid to the accounts of Haleath Enterprises, Uthathak Nig. Ltd and Krasiva Nig. Ltd respectively from the OHCSF for fictitious contracts and supplies.”

Pension Funds Scandal - Bank Manager’s Mother-In-Law, Youth Corps Member Share N53.8m