CSO Urges EFCC To Investigate Dahiru-Umar Over Alleged Misappropriation Of PENCOM Funds 

A civil society group, the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA),

has expressed dismay over the alleged high-level corruption in the Nigerian Pensions Commission (PenCom) under the leadership of  Aisha Dahiru-Umar.

Therefore, the CPA called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to swiftly investigate the Director-General of the Commission, Aisha Dahiru-Umar, before things get “completely messy.”

In a petition to the Commission signed by its Executive Director, Olufemi Lawson and made available to journalists on Friday, the CPA alleged that during the COVID-19 global pandemic, Dahiru-Umar was allegedly paid tens of thousands of foreign currencies for courses abroad, which she never attended.

The petition read: “It is on this basis that we write this petition to your Commission for a thorough investigation into several acts of corruption, particularly as related, into several funds received by Aisha Dahiru Umar, from PENCOM for foreign trips and courses that she never attended.

“In recent times, it has become a practice for office holders to swindle public funds under the guise of foreign courses but subsequently divert same into private pockets.

“We hope to also intimate you, with the fact that after collecting those funds, Aisha Dahiru Umar, hides in her Abuja residence or outside Abuja for a few days and returns to work, pocketing millions of naira and several sums of foreign currency.”

According to the statement: “This act of corruption was also repeated a few weeks/months ago as she was paid over forty million naira, and after being questioned by a whistle blower, with a threat to expose her, she quickly returned about twenty five million naira out of the said amount. 

“During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Aisha Dahiru Umar was paid tens of thousands of foreign currencies for courses she never attended.

“We urge the EFCC to carry out an audit of payments made to her for foreign courses, requesting for attendance certificates, air tickets and boarding passes as proofs of attendance.

“This will help to identify if the attached bank statements and payment advice correspond, which we believe will uncover the massive fraud and gross abuse of office with such impunity.

“PENCOM had paid about N1billion into her various bank accounts between 2015 till date, which we believe your Commission can verify via the BVN system.

“During her tenure as acting DG, from the proceeds of such massive fraud, she purchased a house worth hundreds of millions of naira located at Plot 309, No.20 Adamu Aliero Crescent Guzape Abuja. Also from the travel fraud and other corrupt activities at PENCOM, she bought a N700 million property at No.53 Nelson Mandela, Asokoro, Abuja.

“She has also secretly acquired several assets with family members fronting for her, including millions of naira paid into accounts of family members. 

“She also has allocated several assets of the Commission, including cars and uses Commission’s staff to service houses of her relatives and has defrauded the Commission of millions of naira for the monthly procurement of diesel fuel for two houses belonging to her children.”

In the statement, Lawson said: “A forensic audit of her expenses and the finances of PENCOM should be carried out to stop the looting in the public interest. This subject matter is not new to you and several Nigerians have repeatedly drawn your attention to this. We have decided to take up this challenge after you called for a petition through your social media account on Twitter.

“We, therefore, call on you to investigate this act, trace the money and ensure that same is not channeled towards any purpose other than payment of pensions to beneficiaries who have served the country and are now retired.”

The Commission has lately been enmeshed in several scandals boarding on wages, misappropriation and theft of public property.

Attempts to speak to Commission’s Head of Media and Public Relations failed although a general response purported to have emanated from a workshop on combating fake news sponsored by the Commission surfaced in the media, urging the EFCC to be ware of fake CSOs with penchant for raising alert, describing same as attention seekers and fraudsters.

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