Stealing of pension funds, road to national disaster – ICPC

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said the consistent pilfering of pension funds by officials of government could cause a major national disaster.

The ICPC National Chairman,Mr Ekpo Nta made this known in Abuja weekend, when members of the Pension Reform Task Team, led by Abdulrasheed Maina paid him a courtesy call at the commission’s headquarters.

Ekpo Nta said since pensioneers were in every home in the country, the idea of denying them their rights and entitlements through stealing of their pension could put pressure on the national economy, just as he observed that the stealing of pension funds easily attracted irreversible curses on perpetrators.

He assured the Pension Task Team of preparedness by ICPC to support the fight against stealing of pension funds in Nigeria, promising to partner with the Nigerian Television Authority NTA and the African Independent Television (AIT) in a special forum on pension funds.

Meanwhile, the Pension Reform Task Team said it had covered some grounds in the fight against Pension Funds thieves, just as it disclosed that it was able to uncover a fraud to the tune of N36 billion within the Police Pension Funds Office alone.

It said it had remitted the whole sum to the purse of the federation, while seizing about 120 properties allegedly acquired with stolen pension funds by the cabals.

He said investigations by members of his team had revealed that the cabal in the Police Pension Office were in the habit of stealing up to N300 million on daily basis through fictitious cheques prepared in the names of fake pensioneers.

Maina said investigations into the Police Pension Office were still ongoing, disclosing that his Team had covered 40 percent of investigations into the pension funds scam.

A member of the Pension Task Team who is also a former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ngozika Ihuoma told ICPC about similar fraud with Local Government Pension Funds, disclosing that from 1976 till date a total of N3.3 trillion had been deducted from the funds without proper accountability.

Meanwhile, the breakthrough by Pension Task Team on recovery of stolen pension funds has started attracting the attention of the presidency given the formal invitation extended to the Chairman by the Economic Management Team for special briefing.