The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a probe into the “illegal payment” of N400 million to some members of the Kwara state house of assembly and the state executive council members before the expiration of their tenures.
In a statement, the anti-graft agency said Isiaka Gold, secretary to the state government, and Kperogi Jummai, the state house of assembly clerk, were under investigation.
Twenty-five lawmakers and some members of the state executive council reportedly received N400 million as severance gratuity two weeks ago.
The commission swung into action after receiving a petition on the development.
“The petitioner said even though the Lawmakers and members of the State Executive Council are entitled to severance payment, it was the next administration that was supposed to pay the money,” the statement read.
“It was further alleged that the State Government with selfish intent, swiftly paid the money before the expiration of their terms.
“More worrisome was the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner, which they wanted paid along with severance gratuity.”
Citing a letter written by Ali Ahmed, speaker, Kwara state house of assembly to Abdulfatah Ahmed, the state governor, the EFCC said: “it was confirmed that the Lawmakers were entitled to severance gratuity at the end of their tenure due to terminate on June 7, 2019.
“In accordance with the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMA & FC) Honourable Members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of Office.”
Jummai confirmed that the lawmakers have received their severance gratuity but told EFCC operatives that the payment was approved by the governor.
“In a meeting of the Principal Officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I am scheduled to be the Secretary, held on 8th of May 2019, Issue of Severance Gratuity to the Honourable Members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the State Governor has approved the payment of the Severance Gratuity,” she said.
“At the meeting, I informed the House that his Excellency had approved the payment, adding that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of Office. The House debated it and they overruled me.”
According to the EFCC, the SSG had also written a letter to the governor and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300 million for some members of the state executive council.
The anti-graft agency said it is also investigating claims that state government officials are loading up four trucks with undisclosed items to an unknown destination.