Pension Scam: ICPC to Prosecute Banks

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), is set to prosecute indicted commercial banks that aided pension thieves to steal billions of naira from the pension funds.

Chairman of ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta who disclosed this during courtesy visit to the Supreme Court in Abuja noted that the Commission discovered that some commercial banks provided their platforms for pension thieves to steal billions of naira without any regard for banking regulations.

He cited one of the indicted commercial bank in the pension scam that allowed an individual to open 22 accounts with one picture, but 22 different names.

He said, “The banking sector is becoming much more regulated. Our investigation activities have shown that the Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation is not really being adhered to. That is why we found in pension scam where a bank has opened an account for a 22 year old whose mandate reads pensioner.

‘And we found out in the same bank that one person using one picture, has 22 accounts with different names. We are also moving against the bank. We have charged them to courts.”

Nta who also enumerated some of the achievements of the Commission in the fight against corruption, told the Justices that the ICPC has helped the Federal Government to recover billions of naira through its preventive approaches.

He added that the ICPC has partnered with government agencies to weed out ghost workers from their payrolls.

He said, “The ICPC has a very robust approach to the prevention of corruption. We have been partnering with agencies to develop platforms to block corruption. The Integrated Personal Payroll System (IPPS) has reduced the incidence of people carrying money to give to persons that are not entitled to it. Our investigation has now shifted to mopping up of funds at the year end.”

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed in his response commended the ICPC, noting that the apex court is in full knowledge of the activities of the Commission as it seeks to rid Nigeria of corruption.

The CJN stated that the Supreme Court is willing to support ICPC by helping to fast track all corruption cases brought before it.

He however asked the Commission to be thorough in its investigations before sending the cases to court so as to rule out time wasting.

He said, “It is extremely important to curb corruption because of what it has done to us as a nation. Getting support from us is not a problem. Efforts are on to fast track all corruption cases in the courts. We are ready to give all corruption cases expeditious hearing.

‘All I will add is that you must make sure that proper investigation is done before the cases come to us. We are in full support. It is good because we are agencies that have to work together to improve the image of the country.”

Justice Mohammed also warned lawyers to desist from the practices of delaying cases at the court through unnecessary motions for adjournments.

Justice Mary Peter Odili in her contributions noted that the Commission’s preventive approach to corruption would go a long way to curb the menace in the future.

She said, “I commend the Commission on the preventive action it has taken. The sensitisation of school children which goes to show that the Commission is not just about pursuing people and arresting them is very good. It is good for children to know early enough that they will have to do the right thing to earn money when they are through with schooling.”

Some of the Justices that spoke also commended the work of the ICPC in the fight against corruption. They advised the Commission to desist from slamming hundreds of charges on suspects, adding that fewer charges make adjudication of cases easier in the court of law.