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How We Stole N32bn Pension Fund, by Permanent Secretary

April 8, 2012

Former permanent secretary at the Police Pension Fund, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Kigo,  under whose tenure N32.8 billion was pilfered from the fund by public officials, has opened up to investigators on how the theft was perfected.

He told them that he, alongside his conspirators, deliberately ignored the safeguard mechanism put in place by the Accountant General of the Federation to prevent the looting of government funds.

Kigo, who is presently the permanent secretary at the Niger Delta Ministry, told operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that during his tenure at the Police Pension office, they had no e-payment exemption approval but he deliberately circumvented the process through the use of cheques for withdrawals while officials of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, where the fund was domiciled, looked the other way.

He, however, said part of the loot was used for running the office as well as paying allowances and overtime of staff involved in retirees’ verification.

In a statement dated February 14 to the investigators, Kigo said he accepted responsibility for all the wrongdoings committed by officials serving under him.

“I wish to take responsibility for any wrongdoing in my tenure. I wish to state that we had no e-payment exemption during my tenure. Payments from the Assistant Director of Accounts, were sometimes made to me from cheque withdrawals in favour of Veronica,” he said.

He acknowledged that the cash withdrawals made were contrary to the extant financial regulations which required that the e-payment channel was the only acceptable mode of payment from the Police Pension Fund.

Investigators found title documents for two buildings in upscale areas of the Abuja metropolis during a search conducted at Kigo’s house. One of the houses is located at Plot 35 Lake Chad Crescent in Maitama while the other is located at the elegantly built and furnished Patnasonic Estate in Wuse ll District.

Kigo stated that the Maitama house was allocated to him by the Federal Capital Development Authority during the monetisation exercise between 2003 and 2004.
He also said he bought the Patnasonic home for N42 million from a friend whom he still owes some money on the property.

Some of the documents found by investigators during the search conducted at his house also pointed to other landed properties at Gwarinpa and Apo Districts to which he explained that he acquired through a N48 million loan from Aso Savings and Loans Plc while he was serving in the Ministry of Finance between 2008 and 2009.
Kigo and five others who allegedly defrauded the Police Pension Fund of sums of money totalling N32.8 billion have been granted bail by an Abuja High Court.

Others charged with him are Chief Esai Dangabar, Alhaji Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakuku Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Alhaji Habila Zira.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

Culled from ThisDay Live, Sunday 8th April 2012

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Former Permanent Secretary,    Police Pension Fund and presently the permanent secretary at the Niger Delta Ministry

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