ByVictor Ahiuma-Young

ABUJA— the management of Trustfund Pensions has described the allegation of N54 billion fraud in the company as not only unfounded, but laughable because Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), under the law, do not keep funds.

Acting Managing Director of the Fund, Mr Benard Nkem Ekwe, at a press conference, weekend, in Abuja, noted that under the law regulating the new contributory pension scheme, only Pension Funds Custodians (PFCs) were empowered to keep contributors’ money, stressing that the PFAs are mainly administrators.

Reacting to reports alleging a fraud of N54 billion in the company, Ekwe said the publications against Trustfund were falsehood intended to tarnish its corporate image and goodwill and were sponsored by persons who had been sifted out of the system for lack of transparency and integrity.

He assured Nigerian workers, whose pension funds the company holds in trust, of absolute safety of their
contributions, adding that Trustfund  remains committed to the highest form of corporate governance.

He recalled recent events in the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), one of the owners of Trustfund, which led to the suspension of Managing Director, and said instead of the N54 billion NSITF ought to remit to Trustfund, the suspended managing director who incidentally was the Chairman of Trustfund, only transferred N48 billion.

According to him, the 2006 and 2007 accounts of Trustfund that the former chairman frustrated their submission to the regulator, the National Pension Commission (PENCOM), had  within two weeks of his exit from the Board been concluded and forwarded to the regulators, while the 2008 audited accounts were also being finalised.

According to him, “the National Pension Commission recently in August concluded its 2008 routine examination of Trustfund covering the period upto June 2009. There were no issues of misappropriation of funds raised by the commission, and its recommendations towards improvements in the operations of the company are being implemented by Management.”

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