Justice K. I. Okpe of the Enugu State High Court has sentenced one Akpudili Anayo to six years in prison for the diversion of N13m meant for the payment of pension and salaries in the state.

It was gathered that the state government had on May 3, 2017 directed that the May, June and July 2017 pension/salaries of the state pensioners and three other agencies be paid through cheques after physical verification.

At the end of the exercise, it was revealed that the convict, who was an ad hoc staff for the verification in charge of computing the names of the verified civil servants, conspired and used the bank accounts of three fake pensioners, Ngene Somtochukwu, Ani Ifeyinwa and Patience Chimezie, domiciled in Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC and First Bank, respectively, to divert funds meant for the pension and salaries of the civil servants in 17 local government areas of the state.

Following the revelation, the state government petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission alleging fraudulent transactions traced to the convict.

Subsequently, the Enugu zonal office of the EFCC on April 8, 2019, arraigned the convict before Justice Okpe on six counts bordering on forgery, impersonation, conspiracy and stealing.

Anayo was said to have pleaded guilty to the six counts preferred against him during his arraignment, while the court convicted him but suspended his sentence till Tuesday.

The charges read in part, “That you, Akpudili Christian Anayo, sometime in June 2017, at Enugu State within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Enugu State, stole the sum of N5,034,435 only through Christian Chimezie Patience’s Fidelity Bank account, property of the Enugu State Government Pension Board, thereby committing an offence of stealing contrary to Section 342 of the Criminal Code Law of the Enugu State, Cap. 30, Revised Laws of Enugu State, 2004, and punishable under Section 353 of the same law.”