Abia - The Abia Government has spent N100 million on payment of arrears of gratuity to retired local government workers and teachers in the last four months.
Daniel Egbeogu, the Chairman, Abia State Local Government Service Commission and Pension Board, made this known in Umuahia on Wednesday.
Egbeogu said that no fewer than 500 pensioners benefited from the payment.
"Before I came here in October 2011, people who retired as far back as 1999 were still owed their gratuity. We made a presentation to Gov. Theodore Orji and he agreed to pay.
``As we speak, Orji has released within the past four months, a minimum of N100 million.
"This is a laudable effort considering that from 1999 to 2012 past governments in Abia could not pay a kobo and the governor has paid N100 million within 10 months,’’ Egbeogu said.
He said that with the release of the money, government had paid the gratuity of retired workers up to 2002, adding that more retirees would benefit before the end of the administration.
On why pensioners were owed three months pension, Egbeogu said Abia had a short fall in the monthly allocations for some time; this has affected the payment of pensioners.
"As at today, I just finished signing cheque for the payment of April pension.
"We have not paid May but that will be addressed as soon as allocation is shared and the month of June has just ended. ’’
Egbeogu denied allegations that officials of the pension’s board demand 50 per cent gratification before processing the payment of the retirees.
He challenged any person with proof to bring it to his office.
"Pensioners should not bribe to get their right. I have heard the rumour that people ask pensioners to pay some percentage of their benefits.
"Those with proof should report such matters to me. I run an open door policy here, come to me with any such allegation and any official found wanting will be sanctioned. ’’
Egbeogu said that if people make faceless allegations, cases of fraud would continue in public places.