TheNews - Kwara state government confirmation that it was paying Senator Bukola Saraki’s pension, instead of salary as stated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has not helped the embattled senator.
Instead, it has only worsened the case against the Senator, as no public officer is entitled to draw money from two government sources at the same time, people with inside knowledge of government said.
Saraki governed Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.
When he became a senator of the Federal Republic in June 2011, all payments to him by Kwara ought to have stopped as he became engaged by the Federal Government as a senator and paid all emoluments of the office.
His pension or whatever the state wanted to cloak it therefore ought to have ceased or at worse one ought to have stopped for the other. Saraki is not known to have rejected the emoluments of a senator.
If the Kwara government felt rightly justified that they were doing the right thing, why did they stop remitting ‘pensions’ into his account from August 2015, after he became Senate President?
The constitution of the Federal Republic is crystal clear about the issue:
It says under the Code of Conduct rules that no public officer shall “Receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other public office”. The only exception when he could collect the money twice, is if he is not employed on full time basis.
Emphatically the Code of Conduct says:
(1) A public officer shall not, after his retirement from public service and while receiving pension from public funds, accept more than one remunerative position as chairman, director or employee of: a company owned or controlled by the government; or any public authority.
Kwara State Government has said that it did not continue paying former governor of the State and Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki salaries after he left office in May 2011.
In reaction to evidences tendered at the Senate President’s Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday, that the Kwara government continued to pay salaries or pension to Bukola Saraki Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Isiaka Gold explained that Saraki’s last salary was N291,474.00 for the month of May 2011.
“From June 2011, former Governor Saraki started receiving his pension which was N578,188.00 as other past governors in the country”.
The statement added that after the review of pensions of former political office holders by the State Pension Board, the former governor’s pension increased to N1,239,493.94 monthly from October 2014 to date.
Kwara State Government in the statement dismissed the allegations as false and misleading.
So the Senate President clearly has run foul of the law, collecting Senate salary and also ‘pension’ as former governor.