Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin zonal office, is interrogating the Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold, and the clerk of the state House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai, over the alleged payment of N400million severance allowances to members of the state executive council and 24 state legislators.
The anti- graft agency claimed that the payment of the severance allowances to the concerned public officials did not follow due process.
It was gathered that all the lawmakers and some members of the state executive council two weeks ago received severance gratuity before the expiration of their tenure.
The petitioner said even though the lawmakers and members of the state executive council are entitled to severance payment, it is the next administration that is supposed to pay the money.
He alleged that the state government, with their selfish interests, quickly paid the money before the expiration of their tenure.
More worrisome is the issue of furniture allowance running to hundred of millions of naira, according to the petitioner, which they wanted paid along with their severance gratuity.
In a letter written by the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmed, to the state governor, it was confirmed that the lawmakers are entitled to severance gratuity at the end of their tenure due to terminate on June 7, 2019.
The letter said further: “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.”
The clerk of the House, Halimat Jummai Kperogi, who confirmed that the lawmakers have received their severance gratuity, told the operatives of the EFCC that the payment was approved by Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed.
Kperogi said: “In a meeting of the principal officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I am scheduled to be the secretary held on May 8, 2019, the 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.
“ 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 over ruled me.”
Gold, on the other hand, wrote and sought the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300million of some members of the state executive council.
Gold, in a letter to the governor, dated May 8, said: “Your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara State remuneration of political and public office holders law, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon successful completion of tenure.”
According to the SSG, while the lawmakers have received their monies, members of the state executive council are yet to receive their gratuity.