Pension scam: Govt officials receiving interests from £6 million offshore account – Maina

The embattled former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, yesterday in Kaduna, recounted efforts made by his team to put an end to fraudulent activities in pension.

Maina, who spoke through his media aide, Olajide Fashikun, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the sleaze including an offshore account with £6 million (N2.41 billion), where top government functionaries are still drawing interests.

The former chairman, who is currently on the run, also alleged that he was being persecuted for putting a stop to the monthly siphoning of N5.32 billion from the office of the Head of Service and Nigeria Police Pension office.

Maina noted that the allegations against him and the attendant media trial were part of efforts by those he described as ‘pension thieves’ to stop him from exposing them.

According to him, the presidential investigation is imperative to expose the real pension thieves, some of whom are highly placed public office holders.

Maina said his Task Team had nothing to hide as they saved the country about N282 billion from June 2010, when it was constituted.

He said: “Between the Head of Service and the Police Pension office, the two places PRTT worked, a leakage of N5.32 billion was stopped per month. This is what civil servants steal monthly in the two offices out of the 99 pension offices in the country. Forty-three persons were arrested and handed over to the EFCC to prosecute while 222 houses were seized from them.

“As soon as Maina was driven to exile before the coming of the PTAD, N35 billion was stolen in the Head of Service office. The ICPC did not come out with the report. How come nobody is talking about these monies?

“In the current media trial where all manners of stories have been published, there has been a lot of distortion of facts and sometimes outright blackmail, all in an attempt to paint the PRTT boss black like Lucie.

“After the biometric exercise, there were 71,000 genuine workers in the police pension office who needed N826 million to pay them unlike N5.3 billion appropriated for them annually. They were pocketing N4.2 billion yearly. They devised several ingenious ways to pull these cash out. They pulled out an average of N300 million daily Monday to Friday. There are bank alerts to substantiate these assertions.

“There is a particular person who has 69 cloned versions of his name on the payroll. Bank officials were in cohort. Names of dead pensioners were ‘exhumed’ from the dead and paid pension. Accounts were created with fictitious names.

“The agents who do the multiple collections of these monies from banks get five per cent of the volume collected. One of the folks caught then was paid via three accounts in June 2011 the sums of N7,783,891.68, N17,452,910.87 and N17,293,888.44. He got five per cent for pulling the cash. He confessed when the EFCC officials arrested him.

“In petitions one of Teidi’s aides made to the EFCC and ICPC, Mr. Teidi had said he paid the money to a Senator in foreign currency and that the bribe was meant to prevent their prosecution. He told investigators that he equally bribed a former Chairman of the EFCC. Why has the two anti-graft agencies not investigated this matter? Why are they after the man who caught the ‘thieves’ and are not after the ‘thieves’?”

He also stressed that “there has been a lot of deliberate cover in a well written script to give Maina a bad name. Some of those who worked in the PRTT do ‘kabu-kabu’ to augment their survival. They were severely starved of funds; Maina’s PRTT was a clog in the wheel of so many who were looting the pensioner’s funds.”

But a source told New Telegraph that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation currently has nothing to do with Pension Fund Management.

“By the time the current HoS was appointed into office in 2016, all pension management issues had been taken over by the Ministry of Finance in 2013 following the setting up of PTAD,” the source said.

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