Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has ordered the immediate payment of March pensions to pensioners in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, disclosed this in a statement signed and made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
He said the governor’s directive came on Tuesday after a closed door meeting with the leadership of the pensioners’ association in the state.
Emelumba explained that the governor made it clear to the pensioners that the delay in the payment of March allowances was caused by the government’s determination to flush out fraud from the system and not for lack of money.
The commissioner said the government has saved over N300million in pension payments through detailed scrutiny of the pay roll which exposed some leakages and ghost recipients in the system.
According to Emelumba, the chairman of the state chapter of the Pensioners’ association, Dr. Josiah Ugochukwu, agreed with the governor that the use of a consultant for pension payments by the court-sacked administration of Ihedioha was a conduit pipe for fraud.
He said his association opposed it but the then government paid deaf ears, the statement added.
The commissioner said the government discovered that the use of a consultant was a ploy to defraud the state by opening avenues for questionable payments of over half a billion Naira to an external consultant who by law cannot be audited by the state Auditor General, adding that there was practically no role for a consultant in payment of pensions.