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Your next-of-kin may collect benefits while you are still alive

By Victor Ahiuma-Young

WONDER they say shall never end. How else can one describes the reports that some unscrupulous next-of-kins are now presenting fictitious death certificates to collect benefits of beneficiaries of contributors to the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS, while alive?

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It was gathered that the fraud has come to the notice of the National Pension Commission, PenCom, which is not taking the issue lightly.

The commission which expressed shock over development directed the Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, to investigate the death certificates presented by beneficiaries of the deceased before payment of death benefits.

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The Acting Director-General of PenCom, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, gave the directive in Abuja, the commission had received series of complaints from retirees that some Pension Fund Administrators, PFAs, paid death benefits to their next-of-kins even while still active in service.

According to the commission, it became imperative to curb the menace and strengthened the process of payments of the death benefits.

The pension industry regulator also mandated the PFAs to improve on internal risk control, investigate documentations submitted by beneficiaries before forwarding to the commission for approval.

“Other measures include conducting search at the probate registry to confirm the genuineness of the Letter of Administration and verification of information on named administrator and suretiesm, contacting employers of the deceased for confirmation of his or her death.

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“PFAs must ensure that the affixed current passport photograph of the next-of-kin is certified by the deceased employer.

“Legal beneficiaries must be required to submit a valid means of identification or a letter from a Notary Public, where a means of identification is not readily ascertained.

“PFAs must confirm that the death certificate was issued by the hospital or police report in case death was by an accident,” the commission said in a statement.

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