governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi.

Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi, has ordered the probe of allegations of malpractices in the payment of pensions in the state.

This is in reaction to accusations of extortion levelled against staff members of the Office of the Auditor-General of the state.

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The governor, in a release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, expressed dismay over the alleged extortion.

He assured the aggrieved parties of the state government’s readiness to do everything it can to ensure that it gets to the bottom of the matter.

“The issues surrounding the non-payment of pension and gratuities in the state had been hinged on criminal padding and inflation of pensions and gratuities.

“This criminal inflation and doctoring of figures as noticed in the payroll of pensioners, led to setting up a special committee in charge of harmonising entitlements accruable to pensioners in the state.

“The committee headed by the Deputy Governor has been working assiduously to ensure that no pensioner is shortchanged or omitted,” he said.

Umahi expressed dismay that even when the accruable payments were not within the jurisdiction of the auditor-general, some retired civil servants still alleged extortion by officials of the audit unit.

“It is possible that those who alleged extortion were the bad eggs who inflated or altered their entitlements in connivance with some staff of the audit department,” he said.

The governor said these bad eggs had refused to appear before the deputy governor led-harmonisation committee to prevent the determination of their proper entitlements.

“The people involved in this issue should appear before the office of the deputy governor saddled with the speedy payment of pensions instead of looking for shortcuts to defraud the state government.

“Consequently, all retired civil servants who have not completed their physical capturing should immediately do so as those that have completed theirs have been duly paid,” he said.

According to the governor, the Head of Service, the auditor-general and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission of the state had been directed by him to expeditiously investigate the alleged pension scam.

“Anybody found culpable will be made to face the wrath of the law as this administration will not tolerate such deliberate sabotage of government policies and programmes,” he added.