The Senate Committee on Investigation of Pension Administration has recommended for the arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of the Pension Task Team (PTT), over the alleged mismanagement of pension funds.
According to the Committee’s 108-page report and which was exclusively obtained by “The Nation”, uncovered about N273.9b idle cash in seven major pension offices.
The report which is expected to be submitted to the senate today, also recommended that two officials of the Task Team, Mr. John Yusuf and B.G. Kaigama should be proved.
According to the report, the affected pension offices and the idle funds are as follows: Military(N23,532, 339,033.98), DSS/ NIA (N36,121,396,662.73), Police(N43,213,213,062,.63); Civilians (N58,715,239,159.66); CIPPO (N27,797,021,906.44); Parastatals(N75,783,682,992.99); Universities(N8,778,676,097.12).
The report reads in part: “That the total unspent pension funds balances in all the pension offices of the Federal Government amount to N273, 941, 568, 915.55b.
“That there are indicators of massive fraud and embezzlement of pension funds in the years 2000 to 2007 which require comprehensive audit and forensic investigation. This is because there were no credible actions for the sensitisation and validation of pension payroll during these years.
“The number of pensioners on the payroll of the Pension Department in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation alone was above 200,000 during these years. This was reduced to about 141,000 names at the first credible effort at pensioners biometric verification by the Pension Department in 2009.
“That the outstanding pension fund balances of N273, 941, 568, 915.55b in all pension offices of the Federal Government be moopped up by the Accountant-General of the Federation and be used to settle all outstanding pension entitlements.
“The activities and operations of the PFAs should be closely monitored by the National Pension Commission to ensure the attainment of the noble objectives of the Contributory Pension Scheme.
“The practice of different Ad Hoc Teams co-opting officers of law enforcement agencies and using them for inappropriate duties should be stopped forthwith. Law enforcement officials should only be invited to perform their statutory functions when necessary.
“All officers from the EFCC, ICPC and the SSS, who were co-opted by the Pension Task Team and found to have colluded, aided, and abetted corruption, diversion and siphoning of pension funds and have been used for inappropriate duties should be withdrawn, investigated, arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“That the constitutional provision of Section 173(3) which states that pension should be reviewed every five years or whenever there is review of the remuneration of public servants should be strictly adhered to. Harmonization of pension should be done to ensure uniformity of pension amount irrespective of years of retirement.
“That the Chairman of the Pension Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, John Yusuf, B.G. Kaigama and all the members of the Pension Task Team involved should be arrested and prosecuted by the Nigeria Police Force for the crimes of fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation, misapplication, illegal virement, contract splitting, award of contracts to non-existing companies, award of contracts without appropriations and outright stealing of pension funds. And the stolen funds should be recovered from them.
“That Mr. Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina was noted to have taken over all the Federal Pension Offices, except the Military Pensions Board, FCT, and Pension Boards of Federal Parastatals. “That the public funds expended for verification exercises were ten times more than the amount of funds saved from the verification exercises. The amount spent on the verification exercise is sufficient for payment of more than half of one year’s pension.
“That the frequent verification exercises, which are often done without convenient arrangement, have put the pensioners into untold sufferings and death.”
The report also criticised the EFCC for adopting a selective method for the arrest and trial of those who allegedly looted pension money.
The committee said: “That the EFCC has been selective in the prosecution of officials who looted, misapplied, siphoned, embezzled, and misappropriated pension funds, even when numerous petitions with incontrovertible evidences are submitted to the agency.
“EFCC was also observed to have discontinued pension fraud investigations it commenced when weighty evidences thereto linked the Chairman and members of the Task Team.