06 October (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called for concerted action by all stakeholders to ensure an effective, efficient and fraud-free retirement system in Nigeria.
The agency said urgent reform was needed to put in place an efficient, effective and sustainable pension administration system in the country, adding that it had investigated and prosecuted pension fraud involving N157 billion. 2016 to 2020.
Speaking at a two-day awareness program on “Eradication of pension fraud in Nigeria” in Abuja on Tuesday in his opening remarks, Commission Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa pledged that the anti-corruption agency would bring those who embezzled pension funds to justice.
Bawa said that a significant portion of the corruption cases the Commission encounters in an investigation of workplace crime are inexorably linked to the worker’s desperate efforts to escape the pitiful conditions he sees in today’s retirees. hui.
He revealed that the Commission is currently investigating an unnamed former Nigerian civil service director, who is believed to be in possession of $ 16 million belonging to the federal government.
Bawa said the EFCC, as the coordinating agency for the enforcement of all economic and financial crime laws, is aware of the decay of the pension sector and is determined to fight the forces against a efficient and corruption-free pension administration in the country.
He said: “We have investigated and documented hundreds of billions of naira lost to pension fraud.
“We are concerned about the quality of regulation, the loyalty of pension managers and the inefficiency in the management of pension assets which have serious consequences for the national economy, not to mention the perception of Nigeria as a country where anything criminal is possible. “
For his part, EFCC Director of Operations Abdulkarim Chukkol during the presentation of a paper entitled “Case Study: Analysis of Fraud in Pension Administration in Nigeria, EFCC Experience ”, Underlined the gaps in the existing pension plans frequently exploited by criminal elements. in the public and private sectors.
He noted that the country had lost several billion naira in the process.
Chukkol said: “For the past 10 years or so, Nigeria has been inundated with news about pensions. Although it is a global problem, Nigeria has taken center stage for the past 10 years.
“In 2016, due to the growing number of petitions we receive, the EFCC has now established a unit called the Pension Investigation Team. From 2010 to 2016, we received over 21 petitions involving N111bn everywhere. These are as alleged.
“In 2017, we received 44 cases of N16 billion; in 2018, 12 billion naira; in 2019, 2.15 billion naira. At that time, thanks to the efforts of the EFCC, it started to decline. In total, from 2016 to 2020, the EFCC investigated cases allegedly amounting to N157 billion. “
In his opening speech, Federation Government Secretary Boss Mustapha said the federal government was determined to stamp out pension fraud, although other speakers at the event pledged their support for EFCC’s anti-pension fraud campaign.
Some retirees at the summit demanded contributory pension plans from state governments.
The summit aims to set the tone for the urgent industry-wide reforms needed to ensure effective and sustainable pension administration in Nigeria.