EFCC: How Pension Scam Syndicate Defrauded Govt of N1.2bn; NYSC member earns N23m from pension fraud ‎

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ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecution witness has testified how an alleged pension scam syndicate comprising Ibrahim Ahmed Mazangari, Muhammed Sani Sulaiman, Hajia Fatima Mazangari and Saleh Yerima Tsojon, defrauded the Federal Government to the tune of N1.2 billion.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, O. A. Atolagbe, the witness, Roukayya Ibrahim, at the resumed trial on Monday, gave an insight into how they carried out the fraud.
Ibrahim, who an investigator with the EFCC and member of the Pension Fraud team, told the court that the fraud was uncovered in 2010 while the Head of Service Pension Board was being probed.
“We received intelligence of the syndicate operating in Kaduna being led by Hajia Fatima Mazangari, and we immediately commenced investigations,” she said.
The accused persons, according to her, used two companies – Xangee Technologies Limited and Century Construction Company Limited, to perpetrate the fraud. She told the court that Xangee Technologies Limited, which is owned by Mazangari was offered a biometric contract by a former HoS, Steve Oronsaye, to regularise names of pensioners on the pensions’ payroll, but smuggled in names of fake pensioners (including his own name), and collected unearned pension.
“Investigations revealed that Xangee, an IT firm was paid about N153 million for the biometric contract, but we found out that the process of awarding the contract did not follow due process as there was no contract bidding, yet payment was made,” she said.
The second accused person, according to Roukayya, used three variants of his name to open three different pension accounts, to which a total of about N24 million of pension payments at different times were paid; the money was afterwards withdrawn and handed over to Fatima.
She added: “During investigations, it was also discovered that Saleh Yerima Tsojon who at the time was serving his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Calabar, was receiving pension payment which amounted to about N23 million.”
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According to the Head, Media and Communications of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, the four accused persons are being prosecuted on a 29-count charge bordering on conspiracy, and collecting by false pretence.
Uwujaren said that they were alleged to have obtained N1.2 billion from the Federal Government purporting same to be monthly pension payable to M. S. Suleiman, Saleh Yerima Tsojon, Isah U. Adamu, Daniel Mikano, and Abdulahi Garba Musa who were falsely held out as pensioners, by inserting their names in the pensioners’ payroll.
Justice Talba has fixed Tuesday for further hearing.

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