By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA—The Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, yesterday, described as baseless and untrue allegations of misappropriation of pension funds against it by Senator Etuk-led Senate committee on Pension probe.
The Team explained that it had not received budgetary allocation since it was inaugurated in 2010, adding that everything of its activities was subjected to approval of the Head of Service, even as it noted that the money recovered was done through the anti-graft agency.
A statement by spokesperson of the Team, Hassan Salihu, said: “These spurious allegations are the product of Etuk-Gaya Senate Pension Probe Committee who bitterly hates the Pension Task Team with an intense emotion.
”There are no established facts to support all these allegations. Thus, the distinguished Senate Pension Probe Committee has grossly misinformed and misled the entire Senate with a fictitious report muddled up with a multitude of naked untrue and misleading unjustifiable conclusions against the Pension Reform Task Team.
”It is important for Nigerians to equally know that since the inauguration of the Pension Team in June 2010 to date, the National Assembly has never appropriated one naira for the Pension Reform Task Team in its Appropriation Acts of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
”Where and how the Pension Team could have misappropriated funds when nothing has been appropriated to it by the National Assembly?
”The Task Team is not a statutory body. Thus, the Head of Service has the exclusive rights for expenditure control of his Office. All financial or material engagements of the Task Team are subject of approvals from the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
”There is no period when the Chairman of the Pension Task Team who is an ordinary “Assistant Director” became the Head of Civil Service of the Federation?
”Hence, the Pension Team emphatically states that it has no power of approval of one naira over the pension offices that it has so far structured. Pension Task Team has not yet been provided operational budget neither has it any bank account to date.
”The Task Team only deals with papers work to compute pensioners’ entitlements, after which it then send it to Head of Service for approval.
”Nigerians should note that the Team is not in custody of recovered funds; the recoveries are executed by Anti-graft agency where applicable.
”The functions of the Pension Team are mainly to restructure and cleanse the system through biometrics capturing, processing of payments of genuine pensioners and blocking loopholes that are prone to corrupt practices. The Team has delivered these responsibilities to the best interest of this Country.
”We believe that His Excellency the Distinguished Senate President as a man of honour and a dynamic leaders, the Pension Task Team still loudly cry for justice on the unfairness meted out by the Etuk Pension Probe Committee.”