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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Kogi State Director Dies Two Days After He Was Sacked By the State Government

Kogi State Director Dies Two Days After He Was Sacked By the State Government

Governor Yahaya Bello

A top civil servant with the Kogi State Pension Board, Alphonsus Ameh has died after being suspended for two years without pay by the State Government.

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A director in the Kogi State civil service, Mr. Alphonsus Ameh, has died just two days after being sacked by the state government, according to a report by Punch.

The man who was a  Grade Level 17 officer in the Kogi State Pension Board died on Monday 1st January after receiving his sack letter. It was gathered that his death was as a result of suspected heart failure from aggravated high blood pressure.

He had been on suspension since February 2016 and was reportedly not paid any salary since his suspension two years ago. He was the Director Administration and Finance in the Kogi State Pensions Board before his untimely death.

The deceased, who hailed from Ade community in Olamaboro Local Government Area, before his death resided at Zone 8 area, opposite Science School, Lokoja, Kogi State.

A niece to the deceased who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Ameh was among the directors and permanent secretaries that were suspended in February 2016. The 61-year-old civil servant, who officially received his sack letter on Friday, December 29, 2017, died in the early hours of Monday of high blood pressure at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.

Reacting to his death, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Mrs. Petra Onyegbule, said the that the late Ameh and four others in the State Pension Board were sacked due to misappropriation of Pensioners’ fund amounting to N225, 936, 425. 72 million.

Onyegbule said a nine-man Senior Management Committee was set up by the government to look into the fraud case.

The committee was headed by Mr Aiyedero Jethro, the Ag. Permanent Secretary as Chairman; and Mr John Ekele, Ag. DAF as the Secretary.

He added that an emergency meeting of the committee was held on May 4, 2017, which drew the attention of the members to the report from the State Intelligence Bureau and the review of the same by State Auditor – General, Mr Yusuf Okala.

She said that the report was on a case of misappropriation of Pensioners’ fund, forwarded to the office of the Head of Civil Service by the Secretary to the State Government where the Governor had directed that immediate action be taken appropriately.

“In the report, the auditor general recommended the immediate dismissal of all civil servants indicted in the police report.

“Based on the personal confession by Mr Alphonsus Ameh to the State Intelligence Bureau and that he commenced repayment, an attestation that he committed the fraud.

“The late Ameh confirmed to the committee that he received a sum of N2 million as his own share of the looted pensioners’ fund, which he thought was a Christmas bonus.

“Ameh also confirmed that he had refunded part of the money, and pleaded that the committee should tamper justice with mercy considering the numbers of years he had put in the service.

“The committee said that since Ameh affirmed his participation in the sharing of the misappropriated fund, coupled with the fact that he (Ameh) had commenced refunding part of the money, confirmed that he was guilty of the offence.

“The committee added that Ameh has violated the Public Service Rule (PSR) No. 4, section 04401 No. VIII, XI and XII, liable to dismissal from the Service, and therfore recommended that the punishment stipulated by the PSR should be upheld as a detterent to other civil servants.

“It is on the recommendation of the committee that Mr Aphonsus Yahaya Ameh, and four others were sacked in June 2017, because a Case of criminal conspiracy and theft was established against them,” Petra said.

Other culprits are Mrs Florence Adewunmi, Chairperson of the Pensions Board; Mrs Haruna Amina Mudi, Director Accounts; Mr Abdul Musa, Deputy Director Accounts; and Mr Itodo Gabriel, Head of Accounts, all of the State Pension Board.

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