Ibrahim Lamorde, Ag. Executive Chairman, EFCC with Abubakar Maina, Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, during a courtesy visit to the EFCC’s Headquarters in Abuja recently.
The Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team, Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina on Thursday, January 19th, 2012, disclosed that a whooping N151billion fraud had been un-covered in pension offices across the nation, through the assistance and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He stated this while on a courtesy visit to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.
According to him, of this amount, “the task team in conjunction with the EFCC traced and recovered a total of about N24billion and 15billion worth of properties from some corrupt government officials in the Office of the Head of Service Pension Department. Sixty six illegal bank accounts with N180million were also discovered”. He expressed appreciation to the EFCC for its roles in achieving this feat.
Maina, while decrying the plight of pensioners before his team was inaugurated in June 2010, said that such plight were brought about not owing to paucity of funds “but due to large scale corruption through diversion and mismanagement of pension fund, manipulation and falsification of data, non-improvement in the pension administrative structure, bureaucracy with poor, unreliable and inefficient accounting system”.
He revealed that to check such anomalies, his team has successfully conducted nationwide biometric verification of pensioners and in the process detected 71, 133 fake pensioners.
He sought the EFCC’s assistance in the areas of personnel and security of lives of his team “because we are increasingly getting threats to our lives from some faceless members of the public”. He also appealed to the EFCC to continuously be on the watch of pension offices across the country to find out if any scam or shadiness is being perpetrated.
In his response, Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, expressed the Commission’s appreciation on the robust relationship existing between the two organizations which he stressed should be emulated by other agencies. “We must all join hands to fight this cankerworm called corruption.”
Lamorde, while decrying the denial of pensioners their due entitlement, stated that scam associated with pension administration was callous and avoidable. He disclosed that 42 people are standing trial over offences relating to pension scam and that more people will be prosecuted as investigation continues. “We hope the prosecution will serve as deterrence to those who may wish to get into this callous and inhuman venture”, he said. .
He lauded the task force on some of its initiatives especially the bio-metric capturing of pensioners. This, he said, would go a long way in detecting pension fraud across the country. Lamorde further pledged to support the Task Force with manpower even as he welcomed the portal to be dedicated to the Commission in the Task Force’s website, which is aimed at detecting fraudulent transactions.
Reacting to the threat to life of members of the Task Force by those who are affected by their activities, the EFCC helmsman advised the team not to be deterred by any threat to life in the discharge of their duties “because risk element is real in life”. He however stressed the need for them to be careful.
Maina was accompanied on the visit by B.G. Kaigama, Deputy Director, Accounts; A.O Leke, Assistant Director, Internal Audit; I.M. Abdulahi, Comptroller of Prisons ; Kashim I.D, Legal Adviser among others.
Ibrahim Lamorde, Ag. Executive Chairman, EFCC (4th Right) with Abubakar Maina, Chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (5th Left) flanked by members of the Team and Management staff of the EFCC in a photo session after a courtesy visit to the EFCC’s Headquarters in Abuja recently.
Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
19th January, 2012