-Accuse government of insincerity, lawlessness
– We have been abandoned to die- Agba
Pensioners in Imo State have lamented over a strange development, where December salaries paid into their various bank accounts were later withdrawn within 24 hours. This the pensioners said is strange to them as they have never witnessed such before.
Speaking with the Chairman of retired permanent secretaries in Imo State, Chief F.I Agba yesterday, he accused the government of Senator Uzodinma of being insensitive and lawless by disregarding simple accounting principle that forbids him from managing public fund without regard to the extant laws. Agba quoted section 125 of the 1999 constitution as amended which confers the Auditor General power to audit only government workers.
According to the retired Permanent secretary and elder statesman, going by the provisions of section 125 of the 1999 constitution as amended, the Auditor General has no power to audit consultants who are now hired by senator Uzodinma to manage public fund. He said that such infractions will always create room for monumental fraud in the system.
Agba who spoke on behalf of his colleagues confirmed that monies paid into their different accounts for the month of December were later withdrawn within 24 hours and no explanation has been given to that effect.”If they claim that the monies were paid in error, are they not aware that pensioners have been owed for several months now. Why withdraw the money after payment. Of a truth, Uzodinma has left us to our fate. Our members are dying by the day and government is not interested in our plight”, Agba stated.
Commenting on the recent budget presented by the governor, Agba faulted the idea of spending public fund, only to turn around to seek approval for money that already been spent.”Section 121 of 1999 constitutions says that on no account should a governor spend from public fund without approval from the state legislature. It is even so sad that the present house of Assembly does not know their right from left. They are aiding and abetting the executive to destroy the system”, Agba stated.
Agba maintained that senator Uzodinma is an employee of Imo people and should not think Imo belongs to him. He condemned his refusal to pay pensioners in spite of their cries and several verification exercises carried out by the government.
According to Agba, payment of pension is constitutional as provided for in section 210 of the 1999 constitution. He said that under no circumstance should the governor tamper with pension especially when the monthly allocation is regular. If the Accountant General is experienced, he should know that the annual budget is a law and should not always wait for the governor to approve who to pay and who not to pay when the budget has already taken care of that.
Agba concluded by saying that the inability of the government to pay pensioners is fraudulent and should be condemned by every discerning mind in Imo State.
Another pensioner, Mr Dan Ejiofor who spoke to this reporter, revealed that he hasn’t been paid since December year.”All effort made by me and over 2000 pensioners who have similar issues fell on deaf ears.
Ejiofor said,contrary to the government’s claim that there are ghost pensioners among us, those who should be accused of introducing ghost pensioners are the government officials who have now hired strangers to handle payment of pension and workers’ salaries. He said, every pensioner in Imo is known to the Head of Service as their records are there.