Pension scam in Nigeria: Role of regulator
By IVOR TAKOR
IN recent month’s reports of pension scam carried banner headlines in the country’s news Media, both print and electronics resulting to probes on pension administration by special committees of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Some of the well-published scams are those of the Office of Head of Service of the Federation, Police pension and PHCN.
The Pension Department of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation fraud was so mind bugging that according to the Pension Task Force under leadership of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina the sum N12 billion was found in the personal account of a former director of the Pension Department and another N4 billion was allegedly found in the personal account of a deputy director of the same department.
In respect of the Police pension scam, six civil servants have been charged to court following their alleged complicity in the illegal diversion of N32.8 billion from the Nigerian Police pension fund between January 2009 and June 2011. The Task Force under the leadership of Maina claimed to have recovered over N159 billion in properties and cash from pension fraudsters.
Also the report of the investigation into the alleged mismanagement of pension fund by a Senate Committee revealed that from 2005 to 2011 government officials in charge of pension funds in the country stole N237.9 billion pension funds, through a syndicated and institutionalised corruption, fraud and embezzlement in the management of pension funds in the country.
The most recent is the controversy surrounding Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) staff pension fund. It is yet to be made public if indeed there has been embezzlement of PHCN pension fund and the amount involved. However, what is now public is the allegation that a PHCN pension fund (2,204,814.18 pound sterling) had been uncovered in a United Kingdom bank.
It is believed that the money is PHCN pension which had been lodged in the UK bank account for close to 21years, meant for payment of pension of expatriate workers of the defunct utility board, the company which metamorphosed to PHCN. It has also been revealed that the last expatriate pensioner of the utility board is late.