From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The five months long investigations into an alleged N1 billion pension scam at the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has claimed its first victim, with the death of Ms. Ifeoma Onyeabo in Police custody on Saturday.
She is among 11 suspects allegedly involved in the financial scam that has thrown the corporation into confusion in the past months.
Ms. Onyeabo died in Abuja, where she and others were transferred to the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in the FCT, by the Nigeria Railway Police Command in Ebute-Metta, Lagos.
Other suspects include Mr. Celestine Chukwu, Mr. EunaIgbe and Mr. Olumide Lawal, who managed the pension fund of the NRC before the bubble burst on how they allegedly embezzled the workers contribution to the fund.
Sympathisers have continued to throng the late secretary of the pension administration fund’s home at the Ebute-Metta staff quarters to condole with her family.
NRC staff were seen discussing the outcome of the affairs in hushed tones when our correspondent visited the apartment, which wore a mournful look yesterday.
Investigations reveals that the Chairman of the board of Directors, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur waded into the issue immediately the management made public the corrupt acts and prevented the case from going to the EFCC by setting up a panel to investigate the matter.
The board however, on April 16, ordered the management to implement the panel’s recommendation by firing all those involved in the fraud.
The NRC, in late January, said it uncovered an alleged fraud in the administration of its pension funds. The Managing Director of the corporation, Mr. Adeseyi Sijuwade, then set up a panel to investigate the allegation.
The movement of the suspects to Abuja was said to be at the instance of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), which was initially invited by the management.
The investigation panel into the scam was headed by the NRC’s Director, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Department, Mr. FidetOkheria.
The corporation’s Deputy Director, Public Relations Mr. David Ndakotsu told our reporter on the phone that NRC will issue a statement on Monday (today) on the issue.