Governor Yaha Bello of Kogi State

By Oladipupo Mojeed

The police have arrested a  civil servant in Kogi State who defrauded the state of huge sums of money running into millions of Naira.

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He has been handed over to the State Government for appropriate punishment.

The suspect, Atule Austin, was arrested by operatives of the State Investigation Bureau, SIB, attached to the Kogi State Appeals Panel reviewing cases of workers in the state based on the report of the Civil Servants Screening Committee raised by the State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

Austin, who hails from Ibaji Local Government Area of the state, is reported to have been earning salaries from the same local government area and the State Teaching Service Commission for the past ten years without rendering any service to any of the agencies.

He is believed to have fraudulently earned over N21.9m from the two Institutions in the State in the period under review.

Atule plead for mercy

Briefing newsmen at the Kogi State Government House, Lokoja on the incident, the Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo said the fraud was discovered by members of the Screening Appeals Panel.

According to him, Atule has been earning double salaries from both Ibaji Local Government Council and the Teaching Service Commission since 2005.

“He used to collect N105,050.40 from the TSC and N77,671.67 monthly from Ibaji Local Government Area, defrauding the State a total of N21,926,648.40 in 10 years.

He also added that Atule has been consistently promoted by the authorities of the Local Government Council despite not going to work.

The man who was employed as a Finance Officer told the panel he had no schedule.

“Atule admitted that he committed the fraud, pleading with the Governor for forgiveness.

“He also admitted that the Screening Exercise has exposed a lot of rot in the civil service.

“That is why we insist that the ongoing Screening Exercise is the best thing to have happened to the people of Kogi State as it will also clear the rot in the civil service and change the minds of the workers towards greater efficiency and transparency,” Fanwo said.