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11 Dec 2013

FG moves against pension thieves

ABUJA—IN a bid to rid the country of pension scam, the Federal Government is deploying operatives of Economic Finance and Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and Public Complaints Commission, PCC, to deal with those involved.
Director General of Pension Transitional Arrangement Department, PTAD, Mrs. Nellie Mayshak, disclosed this yesterday when the Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, PCC, Chief Obunike Ohaegbu, visited her in Abuja.
She expressed dismay at the activities of fraudsters that had caused pains on Nigerians who served the country meritoriously, stressing that with the involvement of EFCC, ICPC and PCC, there would be effective management of pension scheme.
She noted that there was pre-retirement training and that she was looking on how to leverage on new technology, especially as many pensioners had problems accessing the internet.
One billion naira suspect - police Pension scam suspect, Veronica Onyegbula at FCT High Court in Abuja, Wednesday. Photo Gbenga Olamikan
One billion naira suspect – police Pension scam suspect, Veronica Onyegbula at FCT High Court in Abuja, Wednesday. Photo Gbenga Olamikan
While responding to the series of complaints by the FCT Commissioner of PCC, Mr Ohaegbu, Mrs Mayshack said her new agency was trying hard to clean up the mess it met on ground and promised that very soon, respite will come to affected pensioners in the country.
She said: “We are looking at how we can work with anti-corruption agencies like ICPC, the EFCC and the PCC to resolve some of the complaints raised. We are also going to be monitoring the bank to ensure that they pay promptly. We will begin to see changes soon in pension management in Nigeria.
“It is unfortunate that pensions have accumulated over the years. When you mention pension, so many things come to people’s minds. There is a lot of history. We are here to make things right. The president is keen in making a difference. The Minister of Finance is now responsible for the management of the pension scheme.
“We’ve so much to do in order to clean up the image of pension management. Regarding police pension, the reality is that the Federal Government has always provided for pension. If pension managers don’t meet the expeditions of the people, it is not because the government is not doing its part.”
Speaking earlier, the FCT Commissioner of PCC, Mr Ohaegbu, said 60 per cent of the complaints he received in his office were pension-related and urged the new Director-General to tackle the issues
His word: “We have this believe the best way to fight corruption in this country is to get the pension scheme right. Civil servants have seen the plight of pensioners and they’re trying to secure their future. We need to get it right in the pension scheme. 60per cent of the complaints we’ve in our office are pension-related.
“The major area is the police pension scheme.  We have been briefed that since 2011, that scheme had not been properly funded. I’m pleading with you to put in place a proper system to tackle these problems. If somebody retires in 2005 and in 2007 the person has not been paid his entitlements, how do we expect such a person to survive?
“Regarding the police pension scheme, there should be a way to handle it. Collation of data should be centralised. If we get the pension scheme right, corruption will automatically reduce.”
The PTAD came into existence last month with the mandate to handle Civil Service Pension Office, Police Pension Office, Custom, Immigration and Prisons Pension Office (CIPPO) and the Pension Board of Trustees of Federal Government Parastatals promised to clear backlog of pensioners on the payroll as the year is getting to an end.


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