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Alleged N33bn Pension scam: Reps summon Emefiele, AGF

Alleged N33bn Pension scam: Reps summon Emefiele, AGF
Alleged N33bn Pension scam: Reps summon Emefiele, AGF

By Taiye Agbaje

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, asked the Gov. of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it over alleged discrepancies in the remittance of N33 billion pension deductions by National Pension Commission (PenCom).

The House also invited the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, to appear alongside Emefiele before its Ad hoc Committee to Investigate the Activities of (PenCom) and its Administrators on Tuesday, April 9.

Johnson Agbonayinma (APC-Edo), the Chairman of the committee, gave the directive at a public hearing in Abuja.

He said the invitation was necessary to clarify noticeable discrepancies in the pension deductions claimed to have remitted by Aisha Dahir-Umar, Acting Director-General of PenCom.

He added that submissions by the apex bank governor and the AGF would guide the committee in wrapping up the investigative hearing.

According to him, the outcome of the investigation is in the interest of Nigerian pensioners and the public.

”This ad hoc committee invites the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) to appear before it on Tuesday, April 9, to clarify issues surrounding the money claimed to have been remitted by PenCom,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Contributory Pensioners (NUCP) has said that “the new pension scheme has compounded, rather than alleviating problems faced by retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme.”

In a memorandum submitted to the ad -hoc committee by the union and signed by its leaders, Messrs U.C. Ekpo and Emezuru Eugene, NUCP attributed the problems faced by contributory pensioners to some of the faulty provisions of the 2014 Pension Act (as amended).

”From the look of things, the whole essence of the new pension scheme is to create capital for the Pension Fund Administrators (PFA) to maximise profits and enrich themselves.

”Worse still, PenCom, which is empowered to strictly enforce the Pension Reform Act in regulating the activities of PFAs and Pension Custodians, has become a violator of the same Act in many ways,” they said.

The union identified alleged unwholesome practices by PenCom to include lack of review of contributors’ pension every five years as provided in Section 173 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Others include persistent delays in payment of retirees’ benefits to over 2 years; lack of standardised template and transparency in computation of lump sums paid after retirement; and gender inequality in the payment of lump sums, which they argued, contravenes the Pension Reform Act.

The NUCP further noted that the sum total of anomalies and injustices perpetrated by PenCom in its implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme led to suffering, pain and premature death of pensioners in Nigeria.

They, however, called on PenCom to confine itself to its functions as a regulator rather than meddling in the union’s activities.

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