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Pension Agency Sacks Five Over Employment Fraud
Five senior officials of the Pensions Transitional Arrangement Directorate, PTAD, have been relieved of their duties after a verification exercise showed that their employment was not in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
Executive Secretary of PTAD, Sharon Ikeazor, made this known on Tuesday while reviewing the operations of the agency since her assumption of office in September 2016.
Public service regulations stipulate that a would-be employee into the service must not be below 18 years, or above 50 years of age on the date of first appointment.
According to the PTAD boss, the verification exercise revealed that at the time the affected directors were employed, they were already above the mandatory age limit of 50, while some of them have already retired from public service elsewhere.
The affected directors include Godson Ukpevo, who was in charge of Civil Service Pension department; Uloma Uruakpa – Customs, Immigrations and Prisons Pension department; Taiwo Ogundipe – Parastatals Pension department; Atiku Saleh – Police Pension department, and Roz Ben-Okagbue – Pension Support Service department.
Ikeazor added that the affected officials may be prosecuted and made to refund all the monies they earned illegally during the period they occupied their positions.
The PTAD boss further said that the agency has fulfilled the monthly pension obligation of the 223,000 pensioners from 253 parastatals and agencies under it despite the hitches it encountered at inception.
“PTAD did not inherit a credible database from any of the pension offices it took over from,” she said.
“There were nominal rolls, but no complete database. The lack of database and information on pensioners in general makes it very difficult to resolve complaints.”
On the ongoing verification exercise, Ikeazor noted that the verification of next of kins from the North East has so far been completed, with a capture rate of 70 per cent, or 6,445 pensioners covered.
She explained that the decision to concentrate on the North East was in keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s goal to end the insurgency in the region.
Overall, about 55,400 pensioners have been verified under the civil service nationwide, with pensioners from the South-South zone numbering about 21,123. She added that the exercise for pensioners in Lagos and other South West and North Central regions would follow.
On the recovery of legacy assets, following the takeover of all pension assets, funds and liabilities of the former pension offices and Boards of Parastatals, the PTAD Executive Secretary said legacy pension funds of about N19.14 bijlion belonging to Parastatals, Universities and colleges of Education have remained in the custody of insurance companies.
“We are working with the Minister of Finance to ensure that all outstanding legacy funds are transferred to us to enable us defray some of government’s liabilities arising from the non-payment of pensions,” she said.