A Kaduna socialite, Hajiya Fati Mazangari, who parades herself as an oil and gas magnate, was recently arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as part of ongoing investigations into the billion-naira pension scam in the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
She was however released on bail after interrogation. LEADERSHIP gathered from competent sources that the agency is holding on to her passport to prevent her from fleeing the country.
Mazangari is alleged to be the arrow-head of a powerful syndicate in Kaduna that specialises in scouting for account numbers of people with various backgrounds. The scouted accounts are communicated to officials of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation pension unit, who credit the accounts monthly with pension remittances.
Sources indicated that more than N1 billion had been paid into these fictitious pensions accounts. One of the account holders, a youth corps member, had seven accounts and was receiving pension monthly. The payments were still being made despite the well-publicised investigation into the office's pension. "As late as July, there were still payments into some of the accounts," the source said.
The credited sums are withdrawn by the account holders and the cash handed to Hajiya Mazangari, who runs the syndicate with the help of her sons. One of them, Ahmed Mazangari, an IT consultant, is on the run. Her other son, a captain in the Nigerian Army, uses his military influence to intimidate the ghost pensioners to ensure they pay all remittances to Hajiya Mazangari.
Sources indicated that part of the stolen pension fund was used to build a massive plaza in Kaduna known as 'Mazangari'.
When contacted, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren confirmed the arrest.
He warned members of the public to desist from offering their account numbers to pension fraudsters to prevent arrest and prosecution as accomplices.