Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) disclosed during the week that the Federal Government has spent over N5 billion on payment of monthly pension to about 300,000 retirees of 270 parastatals and government privatised agencies under its supervision.
PTAD’s Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor, made the disclosure while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the ongoing fourth phase of Pensioners’ Verification Exercise in Maiduguri, Borno State.
She also disclosed that PTAD identified and stooped 24,000 ghost pensioners from the pension pay roll at the end of its verification exercise conducted in 2017.
PTAD uncovered fraudulent activities by families of some deceased retirees, who continued to withdraw monies from the deceased accounts without notifying PTAD of the retiree’s death.
She noted that before the verification in 2017, PTAD received several notifications over the death of retirees, who died since 2012 and their pensions were still running.
She lamented that the trend caused great loss to government and pledged to check the problem through the verification exercise. She advised Next of Kin (NoK) of the deceased to put in their death claims and let PTAD pay them rather than defrauding government of monthly pension.
Mrs Ikeazor explained that the verification exercise was designed to address anomalies and complaints, to ensure accurate, reliable and transparency in pension administration.
She further said that at the end of the exercise, pensioners would be able to verify themselves from the comfort of their homes, and this will ensure that payment is not made to deceased pensioners whereby denying rightful pensioners their monies because of the unscrupulous ones.
She added that the agency was collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), security agencies and pension unions, to facilitate smooth conduct of the exercise.
According to her, the verification exercise is designed to capture retirees in 270 agencies including universities; tertiary education and health institutions as well as Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Other agencies included are Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigeria Postal Service (NPS), Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Nigerian National Shipping Line and Assurance Bank, among others.